Huskies Head South to Face #5 Louisiana State

March 4, 2008

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Meet #9: Washington at No. 5 LSU
Date...
Friday, March 7, 2008
Time... 7 p.m. (CT)
Site... Baton Rouge, La. (Pete Maravich Assembly Center)
Internet... www.LSUsports.net (Live Video & Results)

The Meet
Washington remains on the road this week, as the Huskies get set to travel across the country to Baton Rogue, La., where they will face the fifth-ranked LSU Tigers. UW will be competing against its 10th top-25 opponent of the year and fourth top-10 foe. The squads will face off at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at 7 p.m. (CT) on Friday, March 7. The Huskies continue to look for a major boost to their Regional Qualifying Score with this weekend's competition.

The Opponent
Louisiana State is ranked fifth in the nation with a 196.495 Regional Qualifying Score. The Tigers competed twice last weekend, at home against #19 Michigan State and on the road against Centenary in Shreveport, La. Junior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney posted perfect 10.0 scores on vault and floor to help LSU's surpass the Spartans, 197.775-196.200, on Friday. On Sunday, the Tigers added a 197.050-193.125 victory over Centenary.

Coach's Comments
'We're going against another good program this weekend,' said head coach Joanne Bowers. 'The SEC is one of the strongest conferences in the nation and LSU has an historically strong gymnastics program and they're ranked No. 5 in the country right now. Our young, rebuilding team is trying to go in and hit our routines. Our goal is to qualify for Regionals and we're on track to do that. It's hard when you're competitive and you're not winning. Even though wins won't matter in the grand scheme, you still want to win. But as long as our scores are getting better and we're improving, we have to feel good about that. Also, a lot has been said about our freshmen, and those four girls have done such an incredible job this year, but I don't want to overlook our upperclassmen. Look at Ashley Houghting -- she had an incredible meet last week -- and look at Raimey Iselin. Raimey has done a great job on bars and floor, she really does a lot for us after not competing on floor in years. And Nikki has been hitting beautiful bar routines week in and week out. I'm really proud of our whole team.'

Series History
Washington and LSU have met three other times in the regular season, most recently in 2003 when the Huskies defeated the Tigers 196.725-196.025 at a quad meet in Lincoln, Neb. LSU won the first two meetings between the two schools.

Immediate Impact
The Husky freshmen have not wasted any time in their transition to collegiate gymnastics. The four rookies have combined for 18 top-3 finishes this season, including three event titles for Haley Bogart (Woodside, Calif.) and two by Kristen Linton (Edmonds, Wash.). Karen Cain (Kyle, Texas) has taken third in the all-around twice this season and last week against Arizona, Walior finished second on floor with a career-high 9.9.

Vault Victories
Junior Ashley Houghting (Welland, Ont.) has won 20 vault titles in her career, including four this season, which puts her in first place in the Husky record-books. Last year, she surpassed Klara Kudilkova, who competed for Washington from 1995-98, who ranks second with 12 vault wins. Houghting is currently ranked No. 21 in the country on vault with a 9.865 event regional qualifying score.

Ranking the Huskies
Four different Huskies are ranked in the country's top 100 in vault, bars, and floor. Rankings are based on Regional Qualifying Scores.Vault
No. 21 Ashley Houghting (9.865)
No. 78 Haley Bogart (9.795)

Uneven Bars
No. 75 Kristen Linton (9.780)
No. 94 Samantha Walior (9.760)

Floor Exercise
No. 39 Ashley Houghting (9.830)
No. 92 Samantha Walior (9.740)

Injury Report
Sophomore Cassidy Lance (Draper, Utah) was forced to retire from gymnastics after the second meet of the season. In the Jan. 18 meet versus Oregon State, Lance tore the same ACL for the fourth time and will no longer be able to compete. She will stay on with the program, serving as a student coach. On Feb. 16, junior Kristen Omori (Kirkland, Wash.) tore her ACL on her beam dismount. She will miss the remainder of the season. Additionally, during practice leading up to the Arizona State meet, freshman Danielle Henderson dislocated her should and will be sidelined for the rest of the year. She had missed the earlier part of the season as she recuperated from a shoulder injury suffered last summer.

Strong Schedule
The Huskies schedule is one of the toughest in the nation ­­­-- on the road and at home. Not only will Washington face off against the teams of the Pac-10, the GymDawgs will also take on four non-conference foes who are ranked in the top-25 (the Huskies have already faced No. 2 Utah, then-No. 15 Denver and then-No. 24 Illinois and UW is set to face No. 5 LSU this week). The Pac-10 remains a tough conference from top to bottom, with three squads ranked in the top-10 (No. 7 Oregon State, No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Stanford) and another two in the top-20 (No. 18 Arizona and No. 20 Arizona State).

Last Time Out
Although the Huskies suffered their ninth loss of the season at 18th-ranked Arizona, Washington continued to make strides last Friday. The Huskies scored a 194.525, their second-highest total of the season and their best mark on the road this year. Junior Ashley Houghting won vault and floor and finished in second place on beam. The Huskies scored a 49.200 on floor ­-- the highest Washington total on floor since the Huskies posted a 49.725 at Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 7, 2005. Houghting led the way with a season-best 9.95 to capture first place, while Samantha Walior notched a career-best 9.9 to tie for third place.

Mark Your Calendars!
Washington will host the 2008 Pac-10 Championships on March 29 at Bank of America Arena. The Huskies, along with the six other teams in the conference, will compete for Pac-10 titles while making a final push to qualify for the NCAA Regionals.

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