All-Americans Inspire Season-Best Effort

Jan. 22, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's gymnastics team offered a compelling reason to consider it a national-championship contender. On a night when Cardinal gymnasts had an uncharacteristic pair of falls, the team still produced its highest score of the season.

The Cardinal, ranked No. 7 in the nation according to average team scores, earned a convincing 196.775-194.600 victory over No. 16 Arizona State at Burnham Pavilion on Thursday.

Performing in their home opener, all-around All-Americans Carly Janiga and Nicole Ourada were superb in each event.

Janiga was ranked No. 9 in the country all-around, but surpassed her season best with 39.475 points, just ahead of senior Ourada (39.375), a five-time All-American who was competing in the all-around for the first time this season.

Immediately following a teammate's fall, Janiga and Ourada reeled off balance beam scores of 9.925. Not only were they the best scores by a Stanford gymnast this season, but they aided the Cardinal's season-best team score on any event all year, a 49.375.

That was typical of the evening for Stanford: huge performances that overcame falls on the bars and beam.

'Yes, there were wonderful individual performances,' Stanford coach Kristen Smyth said. 'But overall they covered each other. The kids who came after somebody who missed, really performed the routines of their lives. Some of their best work was done when the pressure was on.'

Ourada would have equaled Janiga in the all-around if not for being docked one-tenth of a point for landing out of bounds on a tumbling pass on the final routine of the evening.

'To have Nicole Ourada back in the all-around is such a big asset for us,' Smyth said. 'She's such a leader. She's steady. She puts it on the line and adds so much in terms of artistry. That was wonderful.'

The meet also was highlighted by the floor performance of Tenaya West, whose athletic ability and high tumbling passes are legendary among the team. West had her best performance of the season, scoring 9.85 to tie Janiga and Kelly Fee for the high score in that event.

'She performed her heart out,' Smyth said.

Stanford improved to 7-0 (3-0 against fellow Pac-10 teams), while Arizona State fell to 0-2.

The defending Pac-10 champion Cardinal face a tough stretch of conference opponents - Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State over the next three weeks.

'It's great to finally be at home,' Smyth said. 'It was such a great atmosphere. The girls fed off that energy, not that they needed any extra, they had plenty to begin with. But, overall, it was a great, strong effort.'

The following are the team scores, winners, and individual Stanford results:

Team: 1, Stanford 196.775; 2, Arizona State 194.6.
All-around: 1, Carly Janiga 39.475, Nicole Ourada 39.375.

Team: 1, Stanford 48.975; 2, Arizona State 48.575.
Individual: 1, Nicole Ourada 9.825. Also, Shelley Alexander 9.8, Carly Janiga 9.8, Alyssa Brown 9.775, Blair Ryland 9.775, Danielle Ikoma 9.75.

Uneven Bars
Team: 1, Stanford 49.225; 2, Arizona State 48.225.
Individual: 1, Carly Janiga 9.9. Also, Nicole Ourada 9.85, Alyssa Brown 9.825, Kelly Fee 9.825, Allyse Ishino 9.825, Nicole Pechanec 9.3.

Balance Beam
Team: 1, Stanford 49.375; 2, Arizona State 48.9.
Individual: 1 (tie), Carly Janiga and Nicole Ourada, each 9.925. Also, Heather Purnell 9.875, Shelley Alexander 9.825, Allyse Ishino 9.825, Kelly Fee 9.25.

Floor Exercise
Team: 1, Stanford 49.15; 2, Arizona State 48.9
Individual: 1 (tie), Kelly Fee, Carly Janiga, and Tenaya West, each 9.85. Also, Shelley Alexander 9.825, Nicole Ourada 9.775, Nicole Pechanec 9.775.

Records: Stanford 7-0, Arizona State 0-2.

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