Women's Gymnastics Hosts UNO's Classic Friday At 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 20, 2001
This Week --
As acting hosts of the UNO's Classic, Arizona State's 13th-ranked women's gymnastics squad (3-4) will attempt to defend its 23-meet home winning streak against No. 25 California, Boise State and UC Santa Barbara, Friday, Feb. 23. Competition for this quadrilateral meet is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. (MST) at Wells Fargo Arena.
Recent Results --
ASU didn't snap No. 3 Utah's 160-meet home winning streak, but it didn't go down without a fight. Crossing the 196-point barrier for the third time this season, the Sun Devils earned the seventh-best all-time ASU team total in the 197.9-196.1 loss. Utah's victorious effort stood for a moment as the nation's top score of the year before UCLA provided a trump card later that evening with a 198.25 at Oregon State. Kelly Cowley was the Sun Devils' top performer, setting an ASU season-high on vault with a 9.875, while matching her career best on bars (9.925) and equaling her season-best and ASU season-best on floor (9.9). Fellow senior Kristin Fanning also earned a 9.9 on floor. Laura Moon produced the third-best bars score of her junior season with a 9.9. Led by Deidra Graham (9.95 v, 9.9 ub, 9.925 bb, 9.925 fx), Utah tallied 12 marks of 9.9 or above.
Boise State (5-3) --
The Broncos are coming off a season-high 195.45 in a four-way meet that included UC Santa Barbara (2/17). That first-place total improved BSU's season average to 193.212, which ranks 38th in the nation. The Broncos are led by four all-around athletes in sophomore Breanne Holmes (39.425 season-best), junior Jamie Johns (39.325), junior Tiffany Weston (29.025) and senior Jessica Berry (38.925). Weston's 9.9 average on floor ranks her 12th nationally in the event. Annie Kaus (9.867 avg.) is tied for 19th in the nation on bars. BSU is coached by Yvonne (Sam) Sandmire. The Broncos only victory over ASU in nine meetings came in a 196-195.75 decision in Idaho in 1997.
California (7-7) --
The Golden Bears may have lost to No. 5 Stanford last week, but they turned in a Cal-record in the process with their 196.075 team total. Ranked 18th on floor (48.896 avg.), 22nd on beam (48.4) and 24th on vault (48.529), Cal is moved into the overall top-25 at No. 25 this week (194.129). The Golden Bears' Kareece Stone is listed as the national leader on beam with a 9.887 average, but Stone is just one of the many Cal gymnasts to be plagued by injuries this season. Senior Pari Olver is coming off her second straight career-high in the all-around, scoring a 39.3 last week. California is coached by Trina Trinti, who is in her fourth season. The Golden Bears are 2-17 vs. ASU all-time. The last time ASU fell to Cal was in 1994, when the Golden Bears' 192.25 topped ASU's 190.35 -- the Sun Devils second-worst score of the year.
UC Santa Barbara (2-10) --
Averaging 185.493 points per meet (65th in the nation), UCSB is coming off a season-high 189.5 in a losing effort at Boise State. Both of UCSB's wins came at home against Alaska Anchorage. Alison Bunasawa has been a leader for UCSB this year, averaging a 9.775 on beam and a team-best 9.725 on floor, while also contributing on vault with a 9.525 average. The Gauchos are coached by Megan Fenton, who is in her third season. UCSB is winless in six meetings vs. ASU. In their last meeting, ASU's 2000 season opener, the Sun Devils' 194.175 took first above host Cal State Fullerton (192.15) and UCSB (186.65).
Moon Rising --
After two MVP seasons at Maryland, Scottsdale native Laura Moon is back in the Valley and back being a team leader. The only Sun Devil to appear in the individual national rankings, Moon's 9.83 average on beam -- headlined by a 9.9 against Washington -- has her 15th on that list, while her 9.875 bars average is in a three-way tie for 14th. Moon's best bars effort -- and standing Sun Devil season best -- was a personal-best 9.95 at the Maui Invitational, where she was limited to just one event due to an ankle injury. In four of ASU's other six meets, Moon has competed in the all-around, leading ASU on three occasions including her ASU 2001-high (tied with Maggie Germaine) 39.325 performance in the upset of No. 1 UCLA. Of ASU's ten 9.9-or-better performances this year, Moon is responsible for four.
Fab Frosh --
She may be a freshman, but Maggie Germaine has been providing ASU with veteran-type leadership all season. The only Sun Devil to compete in the all-around at all six meets, Germaine has hit 20-of-24 routines this year, including her last 15-of-16. Tied with Laura Moon for the season-best all-around total of 39.325 (which she set against Stanford), Germaine is also second on the list at 39.3 (vs. UCLA). Although she has yet to record a 9.9 or above, Germaine has turned in scores of 9.8-or-better 15-of-24 times (62 percent).
Captain Cowley --
Kelly Cowley, a team co-captain and ASU's only returning All-American, has been the model of consistency for the Sun Devils. Competing in every event except beam at all four meets, Cowley's scores have counted toward the team total all but once. All totaled, she has hit 17-of-18 routines this season and has scored a 9.8 or above in ten of her last 12 routines. Against Utah, Cowley had her best meet of the year with a team season-best effort on vault of 9.875, a career-best tying 9.925 on bars and a season-best tying 9.9 on floor.
Essentially Ellsberry --
Much like the team around her, sophomore Ashley Ellsberry may have started the season cold, but she's been heating up ever since. A beam and floor specialist, Ellsberry missed on both performances at the Maui Invitational, but has hit ten-of-ten since. It took only two meets for Ellsberry to tie her previous personal best of 9.75 on floor, and three to smash it, recording a 9.875 against UCLA. Since then, Ellsberry has turned in beam and floor combinations of 9.8, 9.8 (vs. Washington), 9.85, 9.85 (vs. Stanford) and 9.875, 9.825 (vs. Utah).
Fantastic Fanning --
One of four seniors on the squad, Kristin Fanning has been a rock of stability for the Sun Devils this season. Although she's yet to achieve higher than 9.775 on bars in four attempts (career high 9.9), Fanning has been fabulous on floor. Performing at all six meets this year Fanning has a team-high 9.854 average in the exercise, plus a share of the season lead after her 9.9 effort at Utah (Cowley has achieved scores of 9.9 twice on floor this year).
Radically Robinette --
While she has also worked bars in four meets (season-high of 9.8), Rhonda Robinette has been a force on beam her junior year. Since falling at the Maui Invitational, Robinette has scored no worse than 9.8 (vs. Washington) and seems to be improving over time: 9.825 vs. OSU (1/19), 9.875 vs. UCLA (1/26), 9.925 vs. Stanford (2/9). The latter mark (9.925) is not only a team season-high, but is also Robinette's career best. Most recently, Robinette recorded a 9.875 vs. Utah. Her 9.75 average on beam is second only to Moon's nationally-ranked 9.83.
Stewart Special --
Competing on vault only at all six meets, junior Ashley Stewart has been making the most of her role as an assignment athlete. Although coming off her first fall of the year (vs. Stanford), Stewart's season-best of 9.85 is tied for second on the squad, while her 9.68 average is third behind Cowley and Moon.
Wojciak Attack --
Sophomore Margaret Wojciak has already increased her contribution since her freshman season. Against Oregon State, Wojciak made her collegiate debut in the all-around and finished with a 38.475, higher than any ASU all-around performance in 2000. Since then, Wojciak has competed in no more than two events for a single meet, but that hasn't stopped her from matching her career-high on bars with a 9.9 vs. Stanford.
Tale Of Two Top-Three's --
Not quite halfway through the season, 2001 has truly seen some of the best and worst times for ASU gymnastics. At the season opening Maui Invitational, the Sun Devils stumbled to a team total of 191.525, its third-worst score since 1997 (see chart, left). Considering that 10 of the last 15 season openers had seen ASU put up its lowest total of the year, there was reason to think that ASU would improve, but this much? In the six meets since, the Sun Devils have put up three totals that rank among ASU's all-time top-ten. While the 196.35 points that upset No. 1 UCLA stand fifth (the 196.1 vs. Utah is seventh), the Sun Devils' 196.725 performance against Stanford is tops this season and No. 3 all-time at ASU.
The Streak --
If it appears as if ASU's home winning streak grew in the off-season, it did. Contrary to many early reports (after the 2000 season, ASU was listed as having won 20 straight at home against 29 opponents), further statistical review shows that the Sun Devils have won their last 23 home meets, defeating 35 opponents -- including two meets against two opponents in 2001. The last team to defeat ASU in Tempe was Utah, which bested the Sun Devils 193.875-193.25, Feb. 2, 1996. That loss was ASU's first in its last eight home meets, and its first since Utah snapped a nine-meet home wining streak, Feb. 11, 1994. Thus, ASU has won 39 of its last 41 home meets, defeating 58 opponents. The last team to beat the Sun Devils at home other than Utah was Oregon State (192.7-192.55) Feb. 7, 1992.
Rule Change --
Unlike previous years in which gymnasts were allowed two attempts on the vault (with the higher score counting), this year athletes are allowed only one attempt at the apparatus.
Up Next --
The Sun Devils will look to make it two-in-a-row against their intrastate rival when they face Arizona Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. (MST), in Tucson.
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