Streak-Busting Sunday On Tap For GymDawgs

Feb. 13, 2007

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The Meet: Washington looks to end its streak of three-straight losses in 2007 by contuining a seven-match winning streak against Pac-10 rival Cal when the two teams meet Sunday at Haas Pavilion at 2 pm PST. Live stats will be available at www.calbears.com, with a full recap, including quotes and notes, posted to GoHuskies.com shortly after the meet's conclusion.

The Week That Was: Washington topped the 193-point mark for the fourth-straight meet, but it wasn't enough to topple No. 14 Arizona, which left Hec Ed with a 195.300-193.925 win on Feb. 9. Sophomore Ashley Houghting continued her winning ways with the 11th vault victory and second floor exercise victory of her career. In addition to recording a season-high on bars -- on which every UW scorer earned a career-best -- the Huskies continued their season-long domination on floor, with junior Natalie Gillan (9.750) and sophomore Kelly Gilbert (9.750) tying for second place behind event winner Houghting.

Huskies Quick Notes: Washington returns 10 of 11 letterwinners from a young 2006 squad, which missed qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships for the first time in its 35-year history ... Washington's team score of 193.925 versus Arizona was its highest in nearly two years, and its fourth-straight score of 193 or higher. ... All five UW gymnasts who scored on bars for UW against Arizona recorded career-best marks ... Only three Washington gymnasts won events in all of 2006, a feat accomplished by four different gymnasts Jan. 12 against Utah State ... Four of UW's five winners vs. USU earned their first-ever victories in a specific event, including Ashley Houghting (floor), Raimey Iselin (bars), Kristen Omori (beam) and Chelsea Bakken (all-around); Iselin's victory was the first of her career in any event ... Sophomore Ashley Houghting, winner of eight events in 2006, has her season off to a fast start with wins in the vault against Utah State, Stanford and Arizona and on the floor against Utah State and Arizona ... Houghting's 11 career victories on vault put her in a tie for second place on the all-time list; Kelly MacDonald holds the record with 12 vault wins ... Sophomore Kristen Omori scored 9.850s or higher on both vault and floor in 2006, and opened her 2007 campaign with a win on beam against Utah State; against Stanford she did not score lower than 9.725 in the three events in which she competed ... Senior Chelsea Bakken scored a career-best 39.025 to win the all-around against Utah State, and is UW's top-returning all-arounder ... With the win vs. USU, Washington improved its all-time non-conference home record to 80-15-1, including a 21-5 record since the re-opening of Bank of America Arena in 2001.

Golden Bears At A Glance: The Bears return home after last weekend's loss at the UNO Classic in Tempe, Arizona. Cal (190.900) could not overcome two powerful opponents, Arizona State (196.400) and Oklahoma (196.275), both ranked in the top 20. Senior Justine Cephus scored a team-high 9.700 on floor, and Elyse Wong a team-high 9.725 on the beam.

UW-California Series: Washington hopes to continue its winning streak against the Bears, which was extended to seven at last year's Pac-10 Championship meet. Washington swept each of its three competitions against Cal in 2006 by a total of just 1.700 points, the largest margin of victory a 190.425-189.350 win at the Hawaiian Classic, and the closest a 192.750-192.725 edging at the Pac-10 Championships. Washington has not lost to Cal since suffering a 196.475-194.850 defeat in a three-way meet at Berkeley on Feb. 21, 2003.

Did You Know?
The GymDawgs have already topped 193 points four times in five meets this season, after doing so just six times in 13 total competitions in 2005. In fact, were the Huskies allowed to drop their lowest score (which will occur after this weekend's meet at Cal), their average score would change from 192.525 to 193.613, and their ranking would jump from 33rd to 25th.

Injury Update: Washington suffered a pair of injuries in practice last week that bore significant impact on the team's lineup. Senior Chelsea Bakken, the Huskies' top all-arounder, missed Friday's meet vs. Arizona with a sprained ankle, and her status for Sunday's meet at Cal is uncertain. Freshman Bonita Lee, meanwhile, who has been a regular contributor on beam this season, was also held out of action last week with a training injury, and is not expected to compete Sunday. The Huskies are already without the services of junior Raimey Iselin, who is out for the remainder of the 2007 season with a torn meniscus.

To Be The Best, Beat The Best: Washington received no favors from the schedule-makers in 2007. Six of the Huskies' 12 regular-season opponents are ranked in this week's GymInfo Top-20, including three in the top-10. In fact, each of UW's four losses this season have come to top-15 teams -- including three top-10 opponents. A difficult schedule is nothing the Huskies aren't used to, however -- in 2006, 18 of UW's 28 opponents boasted top-20 rankings at the time of their meeting, including all but one of the Huskies' six Pac-10 foes.

Hough'd She Do That?: Sophomore Ashley Houghting had an outstanding freshman season in 2006, winning eight individual vault titles, and has her 2007 off top a similar note with wins on vault against Utah State, Stanford and Arizona, and on floor against USU and UA. While Houghting's floor wins were her first-ever in that event, her vault victory against Arizona was her 11th all-time, leaving her just one shy of Klara Kudilkova for UW's all-time vault victories record. In fact, Houghting has been defeated on the apparatus just five times in her collegiate career, out of 16 total competitions. Already known for her vault prowess, Houghting has emerged this year as a force on floor as well. The sophomore -- who entered the year with a best of 9.725 on floor -- has yet to score below a 9.825 in four 2007 competitions, and boasts an average of 9.835 that is tied for No. 29 in the nation this year.

That's Omori: Sophomore Kristen Omori made quite a splash in her first season as a Husky, scoring a 9.7 or higher in 32 of her 36 routines. In fact, Omori has yet to score below a 9.725 on vault at any meet in her career, and has only scored below a 9.725 on floor twice. Omori finished the 2006 season ranked 12th in the Pac-10 on vault, 20th on beam, and 17th on floor, and is off to a fast start in 2007 with a beam win against Utah State and a season average of 9.781 on floor.

Guess Who's Bak?: Senior Chelsea Bakken had perhaps the best meet of her collegiate career Jan. 12 vs. Utah State, scoring at least a 9.725 on every event and winning the all-around with a career-best 39.025. Bakken's win, the first of her UW career in the all-around, was a terrific start to what has the makings of an outstanding season for the Mesa, Ariz., native. Bakken led all Huskies in 2006 with an all-around RQS of of 38.495 (14th Pac-10, 72nd nation), and had won three times previously, including twice on vault, and once on floor.

Meet the Coaches: Washington is fortunate to have an outstanding trio of first-year coaches in 2007, including head coach Joanne Bowers and assistant coaches Shanna Duggan and David McCreary. Bowers has amassed impressive credentials as an assistant coach at Michigan from 2002-06, coaching 13 All-Americans and four Big Ten champions, while helping guide the Wolverines to five-straight NCAA appearances. Duggan also brings a winning attitude to Washington after a stellar collegiate career during which she earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, and was an Academic All-American, while McCreary has placed several gymnasts on the U.S. National Team during a distinguished 20-year coaching career at the club level.

The Future's So Bright: First-year head coach Joanne Bowers has already signed four outstanding preps to letters of intent for the 2007-08 academic year. Samantha (Sam) Wailor (Prior Lake, Minn./Thompson's Academy) is a six-time national qualifier and four-time Region 4 all-around champion, while Danielle Henderson (Visalia, Calif./Central Calif. Gymnastics Institute) is a Region 1 floor champion and a two-time Junior Olympics natiuonal qualifier. They'll be joined by two-time Junior Olympics national qualifier Haley Bogart (Woodside, Calif./Airborne Gymnastics) and Region 3 all-around runner-up Karen Cain (Kyle, Tex./Olympic Hill Gymnastics), who both boast impressive resumes as well.

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