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UCLA Wins Home Opener over Arizona, 196.400-195.125

Jan 30, 2022
Norah Flatley

LOS ANGELES – No. 24 UCLA won its home opener, defeating No. 33 Arizona, 196.400-195.125. The team total was a new season-high for the Bruins. Senior Norah Flatley won the all-around for the first time in her career, recording a personal-best 39.450. Flatley recorded a season-high and meet-winning 9.900 on floor exercise, a season-high 9.900 on balance beam and a career-high 9.850 on vault.

The Bruins (2-3, 1-1 in the Pac-12) recorded six scores of 9.900 or better, including three on balance beam. Freshman Emma Malabuyo had the highest score of the night with a 9.925 on beam that included a 10.0 from one of the two judges. Her classmate Ana Padurariu led off with her second-straight 9.900 beam, and Flatley earned a 9.95 from one judge and a final score of 9.900. Others hitting 9.900 were Chae Campbell on vault and Jordan Chiles on uneven bars with their meet-winning routines.   

Four Bruins scored above 39.1 in the all-around – Flatley (39.450), Chiles (39.350 in her all-around debut), Malabuyo (career-high 39.250) and Campbell (39.175).

Rotation 1 – UCLA Vault, Arizona Uneven Bars
Five Bruins set or tied their season bests, leading UCLA to a season-high vault score of 49.250. Flatley led off with a career-high 9.850. Kendal Poston recorded a season-best 9.750. Malabuyo earned a career-high 9.825. Brooklyn Moors added a 9.800, and Jordan Chiles (9.875) and Chae Campbell (9.900) closed with season-high tying marks. Arizona, meanwhile, scored 48.825 on uneven bars, led by a 9.850 from Alysen Fears.

Rotation 2 – UCLA Uneven Bars, Arizona Vault
The Bruins began the rotation with season-highs from their first four competitors, receiving a 9.800 from Campbell, a 9.725 from Ana Padurariu, a 9.675 from Sara Ulias, and 9.825 from Malabuyo. Chiles contributed a 9.900 in the fifth position, and Flatley closed the set with a 9.800. UCLA pushed its lead to 0.725, as Arizona scored 48.750 on vault. Jessica Castles led the Wildcats on vault with a 9.825.

Rotation 3 – UCLA Balance Beam, Arizona Floor Exercise
For the second consecutive meet, freshman Padurariu contributed a leadoff 9.900. Chiles made her season debut on the event, dismounting with a double pike and scoring 9.750. Malabuyo earned a perfect 10 from one judge and a 9.85 from the other, for a final score of 9.925, a new career-high. Flatley earned a season-best 9.9, and Campbell anchored with a 9.750 to help the Bruins record a team total of 49.250. Arizona posted its only 49+ team score of the meet, scoring 49.050 on floor exercise behind a 9.875 from Caroline Herry.

Rotation 4 – UCLA Floor Exercise, Arizona Balance Beam
Flatley led UCLA with a meet-winning 9.9 as the Bruins closed the meet with a team total of 48.850. Chiles' first collegiate floor routine scored 9.825 and included a double layout as her second tumbling pass. Although the Bruins did not count a fall, they incurred landing deductions on several tumbling passes. The meet ended on a high, though, as senior Sekai Wright performed an exhibition routine that brought the house down. Arizona battled through two falls on balance beam for a 48.500 but received a 9.900 in the middle of the rotation from Emily Mueller that put her in a tie for second place.

"I'm feeling really good about the fact that we keep improving," said UCLA head coach Chris Waller. "The scores aren't where we want them, but there are some performances that are absolute breakout, UCLA legacy-type performances. Those are the moments that are really inspiring."

The meet was UCLA's first regular season home meet in front of fans in 694 days.

"All of us were pretty emotional about the opportunity just to get back out in front of Bruin fans," said head coach Chris Waller. "There is a really strong, special connection between our student-athletes and the Den. And they showed up. The Den was phenomenal learning the choreo, as they're supposed to. Just an important moment and something we're all very, very grateful for."  

The Bruins will host No. 2 Utah on Friday, Feb. 4 at 7pm in a meet televised live by ESPN.