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Cardinal Finishes off UCLA
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 01/23/2011


Jan. 23, 2011

STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's gymnastics team earned its second victory in two meets over defending national champion UCLA, pulling away on the final rotation to capture the dual meet before a packed house at Burnham Pavilion on Sunday.

Ashley Morgan scored a winning 9.925 on the final routine of the day to complete the Stanford comeback in its 196.200-194.825 victory before a crowd of 1,100. And for the second consecutive meet, the Cardinal executed every routine - including two exhibitions - without a fall.

"Twenty-six out of 26 routines, you can't ask for more," Stanford coach Kristen Smyth said. "Perfect for the year. This is a really strong team, and we have great leadership from my senior class that goes a long way."

Morgan successfully completed a double Arabian tumbling pass during her floor exercise routine that fired up the crowd and helped the Cardinal overcome a 147.000-146.950 deficit.

No. 2-ranked Stanford (7-0) got consecutive floor scores of 9.85 from Allyse Ishino, Nicole Pechanec, and Shelley Alexander during the final rotation while No. 8 UCLA (5-4) suffered three falls on the balance beam.

"As a whole this is probably the best start we've ever had," senior captain Shelley Alexander said. "We're ready right from the get-go, we're committed 100 percent and we really don't let anything get to us."

Alexander scored a 9.925 in the anchor spot in the balance beam lineup, giving the Cardinal momentum heading to the floor. She also won the all-around with a score of 39.350, earning her second collegiate all-around victory and first in two years.

In the first of its two meets thus far, Stanford won the Pac-10 Showcase on Jan. 9 at UCLA, beating the other six conference schools.

"One of the best things about this team coming out of the first meet was that we had lineups that we weren't nervous about at all," Alexander said. "We were confident, and we knew we could just go out there and do what we do every day in the gym."

Smyth said she had two goals Sunday: Increase the level of difficulty and increase the team's depth. Both goals were met.

With five good scores in front of her, floor anchor Morgan was given the green light to unleash the double Arabian. And earlier, on the balance beam, Ishino added a gainer layout during a routine in which she scored a 9.75.

Stanford wanted to allow Nicole Pechanec to use the move she invented on the beam - a Pechancova - but the time didn't seem right.

"Hopefully, next week," Smyth said.

As for the depth, the Cardinal used only the minimum of five in its floor lineup Jan. 9. The addition of sophomore Nicole Dayton, gave Stanford a reinforcement it sorely needed. Dayton also provided an exhibition on the uneven bars and freshman Shona Morgan, a 2008 Olympian from Australia, was healthy enough to provide a solid beam exhibition and should be ready to soon make her collegiate debut.

Stanford had three gymnasts tie collegiate bests - Alexander on beam, Morgan on floor, and Danielle Ikoma on bars (9.725). And there were two all-time bests, Ikoma's 39.000 all-around performance, and the debut floor from Dayton (9.775).

With the momentum from its strong start, Stanford next takes on No. 4 Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday night, before returning home to face San Jose State at Burnham Pavilion on Feb. 5 at 4 p.m.

"The girls work so hard during the week," Smyth said. "They just look forward to the opportunity to perform, no matter who we're competing against -- to go out there and show off all of their hard work. It's a celebration of everything they do."

Stanford extended its unbeaten streak against Pac-10 opponents at Burnham to 31 since January, 1998. In that time Stanford is 43-1-1 against all opponents there. UCLA hasn't beaten Stanford at Burnham since 1997, and the Cardinal is 4-2 against UCLA over the past two seasons.

Final score: Stanford 196.200, UCLA 194.825

Vault (winner and Stanford scorers): 1, Tauny Frattone (UCLA) 9.875. Stanford: Alyssa Brown 9.825, Shelley Alexander 9.800, Allyse Ishino 9.750, Nicole Dayton 9.750, Danielle Ikoma 9.700, Ashley Morgan 9.675. Team: Stanford 48.825, UCLA 48.700.

Uneven Bars (winners and Stanford scorers): 1 (tie), Allyse Ishino (Stanford), Alyssa Brown (Stanford), Aisha Gerber (UCLA), each 9.850. Other Stanford: Shelley Alexander 9.775, Nicole Pechanec 9.775, Danielle Ikoma 9.725, Kristina Vaculik 9.575. Team: Stanford 48.975, UCLA 49.125.

Balance Beam (winner and Stanford scorers): 1, Shelley Alexander (Stanford) 9.925. Other Stanford: Ashley Morgan 9.850, Alyssa Brown 9.825, Danielle Ikoma 9.800, Allyse Ishino 9.750, Kristina Vaculik 9.700. Team: Stanford 49.150, UCLA 47.825.

Floor Exercise (winner and Stanford scorers): 1, Ashley Morgan (Stanford) 9.925. Other Stanford: Shelley Alexander 9.850, Allyse Ishino 9.850, Nicole Pechanec 9.850, Danielle Ikoma 9.775, Nicole Dayton 9.775. Team: Stanford 49.250, UCLA 49.175.

All-Around (winner and Stanford scorers): 1, Shelley Alexander (Stanford) 39.350. Other Stanford: Allyse Ishino 39.200, Danielle Ikoma 39.000.

Records: Stanford 7-0, UCLA 5-4.



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