#3 UCLA Travels To #5 Georgia On Saturday
March 4, 2010
UCLA At Georgia -- Third-ranked UCLA (9-2) will compete at fifth-ranked Georgia (4-4) on Saturday, Mar. 6. The meet will take place at Stegeman Coliseum at 4 pm ET and will be televised on CSS on Mar. 11 at 10 pm. Additionally, GXtra at georgiadogs.com will have video coverage and live audio.
In The Rankings -- UCLA remained at third overall with a RQS of 196.650 and is the top-ranked team in the nation on bars (49.255) and floor (49.285). The Bruins are also ranked second on vault (49.325) and seventh on floor (48.975).
Individually, none of the Bruins have enough qualifying meets to be eligible for the all-around rankings. However, Anna Li is No. 1 on uneven bars for the second-straight week with a 9.905 RQS. Vanessa Zamarripa is third on balance beam (9.9) and fourth on vault (9.915). Brittani McCullough is 24th on bars (9.835) and 25th on floor (9.850). Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs ranks ninth on beam (9.875), Monique De La Torre is 10th on bars (9.860), and Tauny Frattone ranks 16th on vault (9.875).
Powerhouse Teams - UCLA and Georgia have been the premier teams in the nation in the last 13 years, with the two teams combining for 12 of the last 13 NCAA titles and for 15 titles overall. The only other school to win a NCAA Championship during this 13-year span was Alabama in 2002. Overall, UCLA has won five NCAA titles (2004, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1997), while Georgia has won 10 (2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 1999, 1998, 1993, 1989, 1987), including the last five consecutive. The two teams also have a combined total of 65 individual NCAA champions - 37 for Georgia and 28 for UCLA.
Scouting The Gym Dogs -- Georgia, who is coached by first-year head coach Jay Clark, has six returning All-Americans on the squad, led by a pair of NCAA individual champions - 2008 beam champ Grace Taylor, who currently ranks tied for third in nation on the event, and 2008 floor champ Courtney McCool, who ranks No. 1 in the nation. Georgia is coming off a 196.575-196.05 victory over LSU. The Gym Dogs have posted a season high of 197.2 this year.
A Look At The All-Time Series -- UCLA's all-time record against Georgia in regular season action is 5-15. The Gym Dogs have won the last two meetings, with UCLA's last win coming in 2007 in Los Angeles. That win snapped Georgia's 27-meet, 57-opponent unbeaten streak. The Bruins' last win in Georgia came January 19, 2004 by a score of 197.85-197.475.
Last Time vs. Georgia -- The two teams met last year in LA in a meet that was broadcast live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Georgia won the meet, 197.725-196.125. Three falls on the balance beam took the Bruins out of contention, but the team rebounded with a season-high score on floor exercise in the final rotation (49.375) to end the meet on a positive note. Ariana Berlin, who was questionable leading into the meet after tweaking her knee three days earlier, not only competed all-around but scored a career-high with a 39.5. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs also performed well with a 39.45 in the all-around and a career-high 9.925 on floor. Vanessa Zamarripa contributed three 9.9+ scores on vault, bars and floor. Georgia's Courtney McCool scored her first career 10.0 on beam.
Bruins Show Depth Perception At Fullerton -- UCLA showed its tremendous depth on all four events, mixing up the lineup and resting some of its top athletes while still hitting 197.25 in a tri-meet victory over Cal State Fullerton (191.75) and Utah State (188.7). Vanessa Zamarripa's first perfect 10 of the season and fourth of her career on vault was one of just many team highlights in the meet. The Bruins had a total of 10 career-highs and six season-highs and scored team season-bests on vault (49.45) and beam (49.375) to record their best road mark in five years. UCLA hit 26-for-26 in the meet (all 24 competitive routines + 2 exhibition routines). Sophomore Tauny Frattone won her first all-around title, scoring a career-high 39.325. Zamarripa won all three events in which she competed (vault, beam and floor), and freshman Monique De La Torre claimed top honors on bars.
Career-Highs Aplenty -- Seven Bruin gymnasts achieved career-highs in the Bruins' last meet at Cal State Fullerton, while four others had season-high marks. Hitting career-bests were Monique De La Torre on vault (9.85) and floor (9.75); Tauny Frattone on bars (9.825), beam (9.775), floor (9.9) and all-around (39.325); Talia Kushynski on floor (9.85), Alyssa Pritchett on floor (9.8), Mizuki Sato on beam (9.85), Allison Taylor on bars (9.85) and Vanessa Zamarripa on vault (10.0) and floor (9.95). Earning season-highs were Marci Bernholtz on bars (9.75), Aisha Gerber on vault (9.85), Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs on vault (9.925) and Niki Tom on beam (9.875) and floor (9.825).
Zamarripa Honored For Third-Straight Week -- For the third-consecutive week, sophomore Vanessa Zamarripa was honored by the Pac-10 Conference, this time receiving Pac-10 Special Performance Of The Week honors after two-straight weeks of being the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week. Zamarripa was honored for her perfect 10 vault at Cal State Fullerton, her first of the season and fourth in her short career.
Setting The Bar -- The Bruins have been ranked No. 1 in the nation on the uneven bars since Jan. 25, no doubt due to their extreme consistency on the event. In nine meets, the Bruins have hit 52 of 54 bar routines, with 35 routines scoring 9.8 or higher and 14 routines scoring 9.9 or higher. Two Bruins are averaging 9.9 or higher - Vanessa Zamarripa (9.925) and Anna Li (9.918), while two others average 9.8 or higher - Monique De La Torre (9.867) and Brittani McCullough (9.814). UCLA averages 49.242 on the event, with a high of 49.55 set vs. Stanford. The 49.55 was the ninth-best bars score in UCLA history.
New Lineup Has Bruins Beaming -- After some struggles on the balance beam, the Bruin coaching staff implemented a new strategy two weeks ago, putting up two of the team's most consistent beam workers as the leadoff gymnasts to stabilize the lineup. The strategy has worked, as the Bruins have scored 49.225 and a season-high 49.375 in their last two meets. Anna Li, who had anchored beam most of the season, is the Bruins' new leadoff beamer, followed by Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs in the No. 2 spot. Lichelle Wong and Niki Tom alternated in the No. 3 spot, with Aisha Gerber and Vanessa Zamarripa at No. 4 and No. 5. Mizuki Sato anchored in the Feb. 21 meet and scored a career-high 9.85, while Tauny Frattone anchored in the Feb. 26 and also recorded a career-best with a 9.775.
High-Scoring Zamarripa -- Sophomore Vanessa Zamarripa has been racking up big scores this season for the Bruins. Eighteen of her 29 routines have scored 9.9 or higher. Remarkably, her highest marks have come on balance beam, where the margin of error is much greater than on any other event. Zamarripa has a 9.975, a 9.95 and a pair of 9.9s to her credit this year, with three of those four scores coming on the road (9.975 at Stanford, 9.95 at Arizona, 9.9 at Cal State Fullerton). Zamarripa is ranked in the Top 4 nationally on two events - beam (3rd) and vault (4th).
Models Of Consistency -- UCLA's top guns have shown amazing consistency this year, with senior Anna Li and sophomore Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs hitting all of their routines without a fall this season. Li has hit all 28 of her routines, while Hopfner-Hibbs has hit all 18 this year and 36 consecutive dating bat to last year. Brittani McCullough is 22-for-23 on the year and has hit 52 of her last 53 routines without a fall. Vanessa Zamarripa is 28-for-29 this season and has hit 44 of her last 45 routines without a fall. Aisha Gerber is 16-for-17 on the year.
Li's All-Around Excellence -- Senior Anna Li has made a triumphant return to all-around competition, scoring 39+ in six all-around attempts, with a high of 39.575 and two other scores above 39.4. Li, who had not gone all-around since 2008 due to injuries, has three all-around wins in six meets. She is averaging 39.375 with a season-high mark of 39.575 at Stanford. Li ranks second on the team with 11 individual victories this season and has won bars in six of the seven meets in which she has competed, with a 9.975, three 9.95s and two 9.925s to her credit.
Frattone Has Successful Return -- Sophomore Tauny Frattone, who missed most of last season with injuries, has made a successful return to competition, ranking in the Top 20 nationally on vault and as high as No. 1 in January. Frattone has career-highs of 9.925 on vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.775 on beam, 9.9 on floor and 39.325 in the all-around. She has picked up two first-place showings on vault, one on floor and one in the all-around this season.
De La Torre Delights In Debut -- Freshman Monique De La Torre's first ever collegiate routine was one to remember, as she scored a 9.9 on the uneven bars to win the event at Cal on Jan. 22. De La Torre totaled 38.5 in her first all-around attempt to place in the Top 5. She had a strong meet at Stanford two days later, scoring 9.85 on vault, 9.825 on bars and 9.775 as the leadoff performer on beam. De La Torre had another solid performance at Arizona Feb. 5, placing second on bars with a 9.875 and earning marks of 9.775 on vault and 9.575 on beam. At Fullerton last weekend, she recorded career-highs on all three events in which she competed, winning bars with a 9.875, placing third on vault with a 9.85 and scoring 9.75 on floor. She currently ranks 10th in the nation on uneven bars with a season average of 9.869.
Bruins Honored By Pac-10 -- UCLA has had six Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week honors in the past seven weeks - Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs on Jan. 19 for her 9.9 on floor at Washington, Vanessa Zamarripa on Jan. 26 for her 9.975 on beam at Stanford, Brittani McCullough on Feb. 2 for her 9.925 vault vs. ASU, Anna Li on Feb. 16 for her 9.975 on bars against Stanford and Zamarripa on Mar. 2 for her 10.0 on vault at Cal State Fullerton. Additionally, the Bruins have had three Pac-10 Gymnasts of the week - Hopfner-Hibbs on Jan. 12 and Zamarripa on Feb. 16 and Feb. 23.
NCAA West Regionals Coming To Pauley Pavilion In April -- UCLA will be hosting the NCAA West Regionals in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, April 10 at 6 pm. The NCAA Regional meet is the qualifying meet for the NCAA Championships. The top two teams, as well as the top two all-around competitors not on an advancing team, from each of the six regionals around the country will receive an automatic berth to the 2010 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships, being held April 22-24, at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In addition, the event winners at the regional championships will advance to the national championships in that event only, if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around competition.
Lower-level reserved tickets cost $14 for adults and $12 for youth. Mid-level general admission seats are $10 for adults and $8 for youth. UCLA last hosted a NCAA Regional meet in 2001 and went on to win the NCAA Championship that year. Tickets are available now at tickets.ucla.edu or 310-UCLA-WIN.