UCLA Beats BYU, 196.600-196.325
LOS ANGELES - No. 10 UCLA utilized a strong floor exercise set in the final rotation to beat No. 11 BYU in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom, 196.600-196.325. The Bruins (3-0) led the Cougars (4-4) by just .075 going into the final event but scored a season-high 49.425 to secure the victory.
Senior Nia Dennis made a successful return to all-around competition, her first in over two years, taking first place with a 39.475. Dennis also won balance beam with a 9.9 and tied for first place on vault (9.85, tied with Chae Campbell and BYU's Abbey Miner Alder) and floor exercise (9.925, tied with Margzetta Frazier and Miner Alder). Also taking an event title was freshman Frida Esparza on uneven bars with a 9.9.
UCLA started the meet on vault, filling all six slots for the first time this season. Pauline Tratz led off with a 9.775, followed by a 9.825 from Kendal Poston and 9.8 from Frazier. Making her season debut on vault, Sekai Wright scored 9.725. Dennis and Campbell closed it out with a pair of 9.85s to give the Bruins a slight 49.100-49.000 lead over the Cougars.
Campbell got the Bruins off to a great start on bars in rotation two with a career-high 9.85 in the leadoff position. After Savannah Kooyman's 9.725, two Bruins made their season debuts on bars, with Sara Ulias scoring 9.725 and Dennis recording a 9.8. Esparza notched the meet's first 9.9 score with her second event victory of the season, and Frazier closed with a 9.85. The Bruins' bars score of 49.125 was a season-high and lifted them to a 98.225-97.925 lead over BYU at the halfway point.
UCLA moved on to balance beam and got hit routines from the first five, including a season-best 9.9 from Dennis and a 9.8 from Poston, but little deductions added up on other routines, dropping the Bruins down to a 48.950. BYU's 49.175 on floor exercise brought the Cougars within .075, 147.175-147.00.
In the final rotation, BYU took a brief lead after its leadoff gymnast Lexi Mather scored 9.875 on beam as Emma Andres scored a season-high 9.775. After the teams traded 9.775s from Helody Cyrenne on beam and Wright on floor, the Bruins began to pull away. Tratz scored a season-best 9.9 in the three spot. Frazier debuted a new Janet Jackson routine and scored 9.925. Campbell added a 9.9, and Dennis earned a 10 from one judge but a 9.85 from the other for a final mark of 9.925 that elevated UCLA's team final score to 196.600. BYU's Abby Stainton finished with a 9.9 to give the Cougars a beam total of 49.225 and a final team score of 196.325.
— UCLA Gymnastics (@uclagymnastics) February 11, 2021
The Bruins will next compete at Washington on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 1pm in a meet that will be televised by Pac-12 Network.