Cal Faces No. 23 Arizona State After Bye Week

Feb. 2, 2009


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Bears Get a BreakAfter four straight weeks of competition to begin their season, the California Golden Bears women's gymnastics team will have a weekend off before traveling to Tempe to face the No. 23 Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday, Feb. 13.

Feb. 1 Tri-MeetThe Bears continued their upward trend in their home tri-meet Sunday, Feb. 1, against Washington and Illinois State, posting their best team score of the young season. They also had their closest meet of the season with Illinois State just edging Cal by 0.400 points, 191.350-190.950. The Bears had their top scores of the season in the beam and the floor, beating their previous best floor team score by 1.500 points. The Bears had their second best mark of the season in the bars, but posted a season-low in the vault.

The All-AroundFor the third meet in a row, Junior Sophia Hocini was the top all-arounder for the Bears. Hocini's 38.575 was just off the 38.800 she posted at the UCLA meet, but it was still solid enough to rank her second in the meet in the all-around. Senior Joanna Bennett finished fourth in the all-around with a career-best 38.175. Freshman Erica Varon continued her growth with another jump in her all-around numbers, improving by 0.725 over her previous high.

The FloorAll five Bear gymnasts turned in solid performances on the floor. In each of the previous meets, it had been the lowest scoring event for the Bears. This time, it was their second highest. With all five gymnasts scoring 9.5 or better on the event, the Bears posted a season-best 48.500 in the event. Sophomore Avery Gee had a career-best 9.850 to lead the Bears. Sophomore Stephanie Cheng and Sophia Hocini each posted 9.725's.

The BeamThe beam continues to be the strongest event for the Bears. They had the highest team total in the beam, defeating both Washington and Illinois State. Erica Varon posted a career-best 9.775 in the event.

Season DebutSenior Bridgette Glass made her season debut in the tri-meet, having an immediate impact in her return to competition. Glass scored a 9.825 on the bars and a 9.850 on the beam, the highest marks of the season for any Bear in both events. The 9.850 ties the highest score by a Bear this season in any event, matching Avery Gee's floor score at the UCLA meet.

Rookie NewsFreshman Shana Johnson performed an exhibition routine on the beam this week that earned a score of 9.625.

Scouting Arizona StateOriginally scheduled as a tri-meet that included Utah State, the meet on Friday, Feb. 13 at Arizona State is now just a showdown between the two Pac-10 schools. Arizona State fell to No. 23 in the Troester rankings and is 0-3 (0-2 Pac-10) after taking on three top-15 opponents. They will compete at Oregon State Feb. 6 in Corvallis before hosting the Bears on Feb. 13.

The Sun Devils scored a 194.475 in their season-opener against Missouri. The team was leading the Tigers up until the last rotation. Nicole Harris was second in the all-around (39.300) and tied for first on bars (9.850) and floor (9.825). Tiana Jean was third in the all-around (39.075), second on beam (9.9) and tied for first with Harris on bars. Beate Jones scored a career-best 9.9 to win vault. At Stanford, the Sun Devils earned a 194.6. Harris led the way for the Gym Devils in every event and placed third in the all-around.

Up NextThe Bears will be back at Haas on Sunday, Feb. 22, hosting Stanford at 2 p.m. It will be the annual Flip for a Cure Pink Meet.

Pink Meet One Cal home meet will once again be designated as the women's gymnastics' breast cancer awareness meet. The 2009 Pink Meet will be the Feb. 22 contest against No. 4 Stanford. The Golden Bear gymnasts will solicit flat donations or pledges for every Cal score of 9.5 and above. Cal will donate all money earned to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Bay Area affiliate in the hopes of raising funds to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease through research, education, screening and treatment. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and 'pink-out' Haas Pavilion, while the Bears don pink leotards for the event.

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