No. 9 Cal Falls To No. 15 ASU
TEMPE, ARIZONA – The ninth-ranked California women's gymnastics team lost their first matchup of the season on Sunday afternoon as they fell to No. 15 Arizona State, 197.075-196.850, at Desert Financial Arena.
The Bears opened up on bars against the Sun Devils. Andi Li and Maya Bordas made sure Cal got off to a good start as the duo both scored 9.925 and were co-winners on the event. Nina Schank and Maddie Williams both recorded 9.850 scores to take fourth place7 as Cal recorded a 49.325 as a team.
"Andi was fantastic today," Cal head coach Justin Howell said. "Her beam routine was uncharacteristic, but the other three routines were amazing. One judge gave her a 10 on floor; it was a beautiful routine definitely worthy of a 10. She had three excellent rotations with 9.90+ scores on vault and bars as well."
On vault, Li stuck her landing for the second consecutive event as she recorded a 9.90 and tied for second place. Bordas and Schank both recorded 9.850 scores. Cal scored a 49.175 on vault and trailed ASU by .075 after two rotations.
"We didn't land well on bars or vault," Howell said. "We had some good individual vaults, but we had a few too many steps forward or under rotations. Those nickel and dimes deductions add up really quickly. The difference in the meet was .225, but we gave that away on every event but floor. The good news is that we can do better in those areas. That's going to be our focus this week. We're going to put a little more pressure on them in the gym. We'll give them different scenarios and work on the team staying present throughout the whole competition."
The Bears recorded the ninth-best floor routine in school history to take the lead over Arizona State. The Bears caught the Sun Devils after the first three competitors and then built a .175 lead over the next three as Cal closed strongly. The final three competitors all scored a 9.90+ led by Li's 9.95 score. Li's beauty and artistry came through as she rebounded from a fall on her floor routine in last week's competition, bouncing back to take first place. Grace Quinn anchored the lineup with a 9.925 score as she tied her career high and took second place. Milan Clausi tied for third as she collected a 9.90 mark, her second-best floor score of the season.
The Bears ended their night on the beam as Bordas claimed a second-place finish with a 9.90. That was her third 9.90+ score on beam this season. Neveah DeSouza took fourth place with a 9.825 mark while Emi Watterson finished in fifth with a 9.80.
"I was proud of Emi," Howell said. "She didn't have a great warmup, but she stepped up in an important moment and delivered a good routine. We needed a solid score because of a fall earlier and she delivered. It was good for her confidence and good for us."
However, Cal was unable to hold onto their lead as they tallied a 48.925 on beam, while ASU overtook the Bears with a 49.325 on floor.
"I think that overall we weren't in our Bear bubble the entire meet," Howell said. "We had too many people looking at the scoreboard and paying attention to the meet rather than what's going on with our team. It was a very energetic, loud crowd. There was two great teams going at it and it had the feel of a regional or national championship. But we had too many people looking at the videoboard rather than paying attention to their job, whether that's supporting their teammates or competing. Those are things we can work on. I'm proud of how we rallied back on floor and gave ourselves a lead. All we had to do to win was have a beam rotation the way we're capable of, but we were a little nervous. We'll keep working on getting better heading into next weekend."
Bordas and Li both finished with a 39.525 mark in the all-around competition as the Cal duo tied for second place. Hannah Scharf of ASU won with a 39.575 score.
Cal will travel to UCLA for their final Pac-12 meet of the season. The Bears will face off with the Bruins on Sunday, March 6 at 12 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. The meet will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
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