#3 UCLA Hosts Michigan State, Cal State Fullerton Sunday In Regular Season Finale
March 11, 2010
UCLA Hosts Michigan State, Cal State Fullerton -- Third-ranked UCLA (9-3) will close out the regular season with a home tri-meet against Michigan State and Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, Mar. 14 at 2 pm in Pauley Pavilion.
Tickets -- Lower-level tickets cost $12 for adults/$10 for youth (16 and under). Mid-level seating is $8 for adults/$6 for youth. UCLA students are free with ID.
Live Coverage -- UCLA will host a free live video and audio broadcast, in addition to live scoring, at UCLABruins.com. Providing the call will be Darren Preston and Naomi Manea.
Senior Salute -- Sunday's meet will be the last regular season home meet for Bruin senior Anna Li, who will be honored in pre-meet ceremonies. Li has been one of UCLA's most consistent gymnasts this season, hitting all 32 of her routines on the year, with career-highs of 9.975 on bars and 9.9 on vault set this season. She has been a star for the Bruins since day one, winning the all-around in her first ever meet in 2007 and earning four All-America honors as a freshman as well as winning the Pac-10 beam title. Throughout her career, she has earned five All-America honors, won three NCAA Regional titles on uneven bars and won two Pac-10 individual titles (2007 beam, 2009 bars). Li is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation on uneven bars, No. 7 in the all-around and No. 14 on balance beam.
2000 NCAA Championship Team Honored On 10-Year Anniversary -- At the conclusion of Sunday's meet, members of UCLA's 2000 NCAA Championship team will be honored on the 10-year anniversary of their Championship win, UCLA's second of five NCAA titles. The 2000 squad had a stellar performance at the NCAA Championships, hitting 48-for-48 over two days to take the crown. The Bruins scored 197.3, outscoring second-place Utah by nearly half a point. On that championship team were gymnasts Mohini Bhardwaj, Lena Degteva, Lindsey Dong, Stephanie Johnson, Malia Jones, Kristin Parker, Carly Raab, Alison Stoner, Doni Thompson, Valerie Velasco, Onnie Willis and Amy Young, as well as coaches Valorie Kondos Field, Randy Lane, Steve Gerlach and Kaitie Dyson.
In The Rankings -- UCLA remained at third overall with a RQS of 196.900 and is still the top-ranked team in the nation on bars (49.285) and floor (49.345). The Bruins are also ranked second on vault (49.360) and fourth on beam (49.135).
Individually, Anna Li is the only Bruin eligible for the all-around rankings, and she ranks No. 7 (39.415). Li is also ranked No. 1 on uneven bars for the third-straight week with a 9.940 RQS and No. 14 on balance beam (9.865). Vanessa Zamarripa is ranked in the Top 10 on all four events - second on uneven bars (9.915), third on vault (9.930) and balance beam (9.910) and eighth on floor (9.900). Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs ranks in the Top 10 on two events - No. 5 on floor (9.910) and No. 8 on beam (9.885). Brittani McCullough ranks 19th on floor (9.885) and 23rd on vault (9.875). Tauny Frattone ranks 12th on vault (9.890) Monique De La Torre is 16th on bars (9.865), and Lichelle Wong is 25th on bars (9.850).
Scouting The Opponents -- Michigan State enters the week ranked 27th with an RQS of 194.430 and 15th on beam (48.846). Senior Nicole Curler ranks 25th on beam with a 9.845 RQS. Michigan State associate head coach Randy Lane was an assistant at UCLA from 1992-94 and again from 1997-2001. He helped guide the Bruins to NCAA titles in 2000 and 2001 and was named the NACGC/W Assistant Coach of the Year in 2000, as well as the West Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 1998.
Cal State Fullerton will host Michigan State on Friday before heading to UCLA on Sunday. The Titans have not competed since coming in second in a tri-meet against the Bruins and Utah State on Feb. 26. Junior Alaina Baker came in second in the all-around with a season-best 38.95. Fullerton's season high is 192.975, set against UC Davis on Feb. 21.
Bruins Set Season-Highs At Georgia -- UCLA earned a season-high 197.875, its highest team score since 2004, but was edged out by host Georgia, who scored 197.9. The Bruins hit 24-for-24 for the second-straight meet and set season-highs on vault (49.5) and beam (49.65), and UCLA sophomore Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs scored the first perfect 10 of her career on balance beam. Vanessa Zamarripa won the all-around with a career-high tying 39.675, while Anna Li was second with a season-high tying 39.575. Li also won the uneven bars with a 9.925.
Hopfner-Hibbs Hits Perfection -- Sophomore Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs recorded the first perfect 10 of her career at Georgia, nailing a perfect balance beam routine. It was UCLA's first 10 on beam in six years, since Kate Richardson achieved the feat on Feb. 1, 2004. The perfect 10, which came with Hopfner-Hibbs competing second in the lineup, also helped the Bruins achieve a 49.65 team score on beam, the third-highest in school history. Her feat earned her Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week honors for the second time this season.
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 10 meets, the Bruins have hit 58 of 60 bar routines, with 40 routines scoring 9.8 or higher and 16 routines scoring 9.9 or higher. Two Bruins are averaging 9.9 or higher - Vanessa Zamarripa (9.921) and Anna Li (9.919), while two others average 9.8 or higher - Monique De La Torre (9.864) and Brittani McCullough (9.803). UCLA averages 49.248 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 three 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, 49.375 and a season-high (and No. 3 all-time at UCLA) 49.65 since the change. 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. At Georgia, Li led off with a season-high 9.925, followed by a perfect 10 from Hopfner-Hibbs. Niki Tom has been in the No. 3 spot the last two meets, with Aisha Gerber and Vanessa Zamarripa at No. 4 and No. 5. Mizuki Sato anchored the Feb. 21 and Mar. 6 meets and scored a career-high 9.95 in the most recent meet.
High-Scoring Zamarripa -- Sophomore Vanessa Zamarripa has been racking up big scores this season for the Bruins. Twenty-two of her 33 routines have scored 9.9 or higher, including a perfect 10 on vault and a 9.975 on beam, and she has scored 39.675 in the all-around in three of her last four all-around attempts. Zamarripa is ranked in the Top 10 nationally on all four events - 2nd on bars, 3rd on vault and beam and 8th on floor. Her season averages all top 9.825 on each event - 9.898 on vault, 9.921 on bars, 9.880 on beam and 9.832 on floor.
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 32 of her routines, while Hopfner-Hibbs has hit all 23 this year and 38 consecutive dating bat to last year. Brittani McCullough is 25-for-26 on the year and has hit 55 of her last 56 routines without a fall. Vanessa Zamarripa is 32-for-33 this season and has hit 48 of her last 49 routines without a fall. Aisha Gerber is 19-for-20 on the year.
Li's All-Around Excellence -- Senior Anna Li has made a triumphant return to all-around competition, scoring 39+ in seven all-around attempts, with a high of 39.575 set twice 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 seven meets. She is averaging 39.404 and ranks seventh nationally. Li is second on the team with 12 individual victories this season and has won bars in seven of the eight meets in which she has competed, with a 9.975, three 9.95s and three 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 15 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.
Freshmen Making Strong Contributions -- Freshmen Monique De La Torre and Lichelle Wong have become fixtures in the Bruin lineup and have excelled at a national level. De La Torre currently ranks 16th in the nation on uneven bars and averages 9.864 on the event, with a high of 9.9 achieved on her first-ever collegiate routine on Jan. 22 at Cal. She has two uneven bars titles on the year. Wong has been a fixture in the lineup on both uneven bars and floor exercise. She has career-highs of 9.9 on each event, accomplished on Jan. 31 vs. Arizona State. She currently ranks 25th on bars with a RQS of 9.850.
Bruins Honored By Pac-10 -- UCLA has dominated the Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week Awards this season, winning seven in the past eight 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, Zamarripa on Mar. 2 for her 10.0 on vault at Cal State Fullerton and Hopfner-Hibbs on Mar. 9 for her perfect 10 on beam at Georgia. 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.