GOLD GAME: No. 17 Gym Devils Host No. 20 Wildcats

Feb. 13, 2008

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This Week --
Put on your gold shirts, Devil fans, it's a Duel in the Desert. The No. 17 Gym Devils host in-state rival the No. 20 Arizona Wildcats this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. Although 1-5, the Sun Devils have been consistently improving throughout the season. The Sun Devils, under 29th-year head coach John Spini, return six gymnasts to the squad. Although young, the Sun Devils look to compete in their 27th consecutive regional and make the NCAA Championships. Spini is currently ASU's longest-tenured head coach, and is second on the all-time Sun Devil head coaching list. Former Sun Devil women's tennis coaching legend Anne Pittman holds the distinction as the longest-tenured ASU head coach at 31 seasons. Spini's regular-season record is now 320-134-2. His won-loss record at home is 171-36-1.

Promotions for the Week --
Fans wearing gold will receive $2 admission. There will also be a post-meet autograph session for fans to get their favorite Gym Devils to sign the team poster.




Have a Heart --
Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S.? Friday's meet is Heart Health Awareness Night. There will be free blood pressure checks in the concourse as well as a chance to win tickets to a Phoenix Mercury game and the upcoming Heart Health Fair. Interesting Heart Health Facts and Trivia will also be shared throughout the meet.

Live Stats--
Live stats will be available on www.thesundevils.com for fans unable to attend Friday's meet.

Duel in the Desert History --
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Arizona 74-26-2. The Sun Devils lead in regular-season meets (32-7-2) and in postseason competition (42-19-0). ASU is 14-1 at home against the Wildcats, 13-6-1 in Tucson and 7-2-1 at neutral sites.

Scouting Arizona --
The Wildcats are currently ranked 20th nationally with a season-average of 194.335. U of A is currently 18th on floor, 20th on beam, 25th on bars and 18th on vault. Arizona does not have any Wildcats individually ranked.

ASU In The Rankings --
The Arizona State women's gymnastics team is currently ranked 17th nationally with a 194.500 average. The Gym Devils are ranked sixth on beam (48.875), 25th on floor (48.66) and 24th (48.635) on vault. Nicole Harris is currently ranked eighth in the all-around with a season average of 39.358. Next week's rankings will be the first rankings based on the Regional Qualifying Score.

Fantastic Fans --
The Sun Devils home opener against Utah produced 1,911 fans, the third highest in Sun Devil gymnastics history.

ASU Faces Nation's Finest --
The Sun Devils will face nine of the top-ranked programs in the country, four of which are in the top ten and four in the Pac-10 Conference, according to the preseason coaches poll. The Sun Devils have already competed against No. 4 UCLA, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 7 Nebraska. The Sun Devils hosted No. 3 Utah in their home opener last Friday They host No. 11 Oregon State on Wednesday. The Sun Devils will also host No. 12 Arizona (Feb. 15), No. 5 Stanford (Feb 29), No. 13 Penn State (Mar. 7) and No. 20 Ohio State. The Sun Devils also travel to No. 16 Missouri (Mar. 21).

Happenin' Hink --
Ashlee Hinkle's consistent season has been recognized. The junior from Glendale, Ariz., was named Pac-10 Event Specialist of the Week for the week of Feb. 5-11. for her performance against Oregon State. Hinkle won vault with a career-best 9.9. Her score of a 9.9 is the best score on any event by Sun Devils this season. Hinkle also had a career-high 9.875 on floor as well as a season-best 9.875 on beam.




Harris Honored --
Nicole Harris earned her first Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honor for the week of January 15-21. In her inaugural all-around performance of the season, junior All-American Nicole Harris hit every event to win the all-around with a team season-best score of 39.325 against Cal. Competing on floor for the first time this season, Harris won the event tying Ashlee Hinkle's team-best score of 9.850. The All-Pac-10 selection from last season also had a season-best mark on bars with a 9.875 and tied for second on beam with a 9.825. Harris also won the all-around against Oregon State with a season-best 39.400.

Fabulous Fran ---
Francesca Mercurio has had a fantastic freshman campaign so far this season. In addition to the career-best 38.9 all-around score she acheived against Oregon State, Mercurio also had two career highs on vault (9.825) and beam (9.775) as well as tied her career-best floor score (9.700).

All Around Tiana--
Junior Tiana Jean is competing in the all-around for the first time in her collegiate career. The Puyallup, Wash., native had a career-best score of 39.175 against Oregon State. Jean had career-highs on vault (9.750) and floor (9.875).

She's Back!--
Tia Orlando, who was sidelined last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, competed in her first meet since the 2006 NCAA Championships. Orlando, who as an Elite won the floor exercise at the 2003 Pan-American Games, has been competing on bars and beam this season. Orlando tied her career-best on bars at Cal with a 9.825. Orlando has also recorded two career-high scores of 9.850 on beam this season.

Keeping Up with the Jones' --
After competing in the all-around the first two meets of the season, freshman Beaté Jones has been consistent on vault, bars and floor this season. A powerful gymnast, Jones had a career-best 9.825 on vault and on floor last meet against Oregon State.

Stephanie Hangartner Signs Letter of Intent--
Stephanie Hangartner of Mesa, Ariz., has signed a letter of intent to study and compete at Arizona State starting in fall 2008. Hangartner will join the Sun Devils squad as a potential all-arounder. She was the 2005 State Champion in the all-around and was a Junior Olympic qualifier.




2008 Results --
Lady Luck Invitational (1/4): The Sun Devils finished third at the Lady Luck Invitational. Ashlee Hinkle and Tia Orlando tied for second on beam with scores of 9.800. Orlando's score was a career high. Hinkle tied for third on vault (9.875) and floor (9.850). Hinkle's vault score was a career-high while her floor score tied her personal-best. Beaté Jones earned a 9.800 on vault to place eighth overall. Nicole Harris and Tiana Jean tied for fourth on beam with scores of 9.775. Jean also tied for fourth on bars (9.775) and fifth on floor (9.800).

At Nebraska (1/13): The Sun Devils fell 195.550-193.075 to the No. 7 Huskers. Nicole Harris and Tiana Jean both had season-best scores of 9.800 on bars to place third. Ashlee Hinkle led the Sun Devils on vault with a score of 9.800. Competing on vault for the first time this season, Harris was the second highest scoring Devil with a 9.750. On floor, freshman Beaté Jones had a career-best 9.775 to lead the Sun Devils. Jean and Hinkle were the top scoring Sun Devils on beam with scores of 9.725 apiece. Jean scored a 38.900 in the all-around while Jones compiled a 38.600.

At California (1/20): The Sun Devils defeated No. 22 California with a season-best score of 195.175. In her first all-around competition of the season, Nicole Harris won the all-around with a score of 39.325. Harris also won floor with a 9.85. Ashlee Hinkle won vault with a 9.825 and tied for second on beam with Harris with a 9.825. Harris placed second on bars with a 9.875.

Vs. Utah (1/25): The Sun Devils posted a season-best 195.625 in their loss to No. 3 Utah. Nicole Harris placed second in the all-around with a season-best 39.35. Harris posted season-best scores of 9.875 on bars and beam. Mary Atkinson placed second on vault with a career-best 9.825. Brittany Schuett tallied a career-best 9.8 on floor to place fifth. Tiana Jean and Tia Orlando both had career-best scores of 9.85 on beam.

Vs. Oregon State (1/30): Despite losing to Oregon State, the Sun Devils hit their best mark of the season with a team score of 196.150. Nicole Harris won her second all-around competition of the year with a season-best 39.400. Ashlee Hinkle had career-best marks of 9.9 on vault and 9.875 on floor. Tiana Jean also had a career-best 9.875 on floor and in the all-around with a score of 39.175.

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