Dual in the Desert

Jan. 27, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's gymnastics team will attempt to keep it's undefeated season intact when it takes on Arizona in a Friday dual meet at Tucson's McKale Center. The Cardinal (7-0) moved up three spots in the national rankings, which are based on average team scores, after beating visiting Arizona State, 196.775-194.6, at Burnham Pavilion on Thursday. Arizona (0-3) is ranked No. 24.

There is a Webcast of the meet available on arizonaathletics.com, for a subscription fee. More information can be found on the All-Access icon on the home page.

Stanford Moves Up
Stanford's season-best score of 196.775 points in its home-opening victory over Arizona State on Thursday pushed the team to No. 4 in the national rankings, a gain of three spots. Stanford now has a season average score of 196.275 for its first three meets.
This week's top 10 team rankings, based on total average scores, are:
1, Georgia 196.65; 2, Utah 196.583; 3, UCLA 196.544; 4, Stanford 196.275; 5, Florida 196.142; 6, Auburn 196.137; 7, Oklahoma 196.125; 8, Arkansas 196.025; 9, Alabama 195.925; 10, LSU 195.4.

Best-Ever Start
Stanford's 7-0 start is believed to be a school record. It certainly is the best in at least a decade. Before that, the program wasn't nearly as strong as it is today.
Among the victims have been four teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time their meetings. Stanford's opponents that are currently ranked are: No. 11 Oregon State, No. 16 Arizona State and No. 22 Denver.
Future 2009 regular-season opponents include No. 3 UCLA, No. 9 Alabama and, this week, No. 24 Arizona.

This Week: Arizona
The Wildcats are 0-3, but their dual losses have come against No. 3 UCLA, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 21 Minnesota. Arizona scored a season-high 195.25 in a loss to visiting Oregon State on Friday, an improvement of nearly two full points since its opener. The team's season average is 193.833, placing the Wildcats at No. 24 nationally. Overall, five of the Pac-10's seven teams are among the Top 25.
Sophomore Colleen Fisher has been the team's top all-around performer this season, scoring a season-best 39.050 last week.

The Arizona Series
Stanford holds a 7-0 series lead since 2006, with its last loss coming March 26, 2005, in the Pac-10 Championships. A 2005 dual meet marked Stanford's last loss in Tucson. Stanford is 8-1 against Arizona in duals since 2000 and 16-3 in all their meetings in that span.
Last season, the teams faced each other twice, with the Cardinal winning both. They met in a dual meet Jan. 20 at Burnham Pavilion, with Stanford winning, 194.6-194.125.
At the Pac-10 Championships in Seattle on March 29, Stanford captured its third conference crown in five years, with a score of 197.0. Arizona was fourth at 195.725.

Last Week
Stanford scored a season-best 196.775 points to beat current No. 16 Arizona State (194.6) in a home opener at Burnham Pavilion. Stanford's result was more impressive considering the team overcame two falls to produce that score.
The Cardinal scored season bests in two events, the balance beam (49.375) and floor exercise (49.150). The beam came without the cushion of a strong sixth score, because of a fall (in college scoring, the sixth-highest scores are thrown out). The beam performance was the team's best score in any event this season. The floor score also had room for improvement, with two out-of-bounds deductions.

Team Scores in Rankings
In every event, Stanford is among the national leaders in average score. Here is how the Cardinal ranks, and its season averages:
Overall: 4th, 196.275
Floor: 9th, 48.875
Beam: 3rd, 49.225
Bars: 3rd, 49.217
Vault: 12th, 48.958

The Beam
Stanford's average score in the balance beam of 49.225 is only 0.08 from the nation's leading average, held by Alabama (49.233).
The beam lineup that earned the Cardinal its season-best score of 49.375 last week was: Shelley Alexander (9.825), Kelly Fee (9.25), Allyse Ishino (9.825), Carly Janiga (9.925), Nicole Ourada (9.925), and Heather Purnell (9.875).

Individual Scores in Rankings
Here is how Cardinal individuals rank, with their season averages:
All-around: 5th (t), Carly Janiga, 39.375
5th (t), Nicole Ourada, 39.375
Beam: 1st (t), Nicole Ourada, 9.9
10th, Carly Janiga, 9.875
17th, Heather Purnell, 9.858
Bars: 4th, Carly Janiga, 9.892
16th (t), Nicole Ourada, 9.85
Ourada is tied with three others for first on the balance beam. Ourada's scores (9.875 and 9.925) comes from two meets.

Janiga's Arizona Connection
Janiga, from Paradise Valley in the Phoenix area, was greeted with a large crowd of family and friends the first time she competed for Stanford in Arizona, as a freshman in Tucson in 2007. Many wore T-shirts that read: 'I know Carly Janiga.'
Janiga scored a 39.425 that day to win the all-around. This will be her fourth collegiate meet in her home state.
Janiga has competed all-around in two meets this season and captured first in each, winning Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honors Jan. 13.

Pechanec Featured
Stanford's Nicole Pechanec is featured on the Jan. 27 on-line edition of International Gymnast magazine.
Pechanec is a veteran of the Czech Republic national team and was a strong candidate for the 2008 Olympics. Known internationally as Nicole Pechancova, the freshman has been a starter on the bars and floor for Stanford.
The interview can be found at:

What the Rankings Mean
Unlike other collegiate athletics rankings, gymnastics is not based on wins and losses or votes, but by season scoring average. But starting Feb. 16, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by a Regional Qualifying Score, which is based on each team's top six regular-season scores. At least three scores must come from away meets. The highest score is then dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged.
The 36 teams with the highest RQS's earn NCAA regional berths. Stanford is shooting for an RQS among the top six, which would enable the Cardinal to earn a No. 1 seed.

Pac-10s Coming to Stanford March 21
Maples Pavilion (gymnastics capacity 5,488) will host the Pac-10 Conference Championships on March 21, at 4 p.m.
Stanford is the defending champion and has won three of the past five titles and five overall.
This will be the fifth women's gymnastics conference championship meet held at Maples Pavilion and first since 2002.

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