Feb. 17, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. -
The No. 2 Stanford women's gymnastics team seeks to continue its perfect season when its takes on up-and-coming Pac-10 competitor Arizona on Friday at 6 p.m. PT in Tucson. No. 2 Stanford is off to the best start in program history, with a 13-0 dual-meet record and a 196.650 season scoring average. Arizona (9-4), which finished just behind the Big Three of Stanford, Oregon State, and UCLA, at the Pac-10 Showcase on Jan. 9, and is ranked No. 24 in the country with a season average of 194.417.
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Links to live stats can be found at gostanford.com.
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Stanford competed in two competitions within three days in the Midwest, and won each triangular meet against a pair of Top 10 teams. The latter meet was the most dramatic as Stanford rallied past No. 8 Michigan on the final rotation in Ann Arbor. Allyse Ishino, Alyssas Brown, and Nicole Pechanec closed out the meet with consecutive scores of 9.90 on the uneven bars to give the Cardinal 196.800 points, to Michigan's 196.500 and Nebraska's 195.400. Two days earlier, Stanford beat Pac-10 rivals Oregon State and UCLA at the IGI Chicago Style Invitational at Chicago's Navy Pier. Shelley Alexander captured the all-around in Chicago and was second at Michigan, and won the beam in both meets with 9.9 scores.
Friday's Opponent: Arizona
The Wildcats don't really excel in any one area -- they are fifth in the Pac-10 on vault, bars and beam, and sixth on floor. But Arizona has proven to be solid overall and has assembled a 9-4 record -- including 3-3 at the Pac-10 Showcase -- with a high team score of 195.550. Junior Deannna Graham is the reigning Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week for her winning 39.250 performance in the all-around in a tri-meet victory over North Carolina State and William & Mary last week. Sophomore Aubree Castillo has proven to be the team's most consistent performer. She has a season all-around best of 39.400 and has the team's best season averages on vault and beam.
The Arizona Series
Stanford and Arizona have faced each other once this season, with Stanford scoring 196.625 to win the Pac-10 Showcase and Arizona finishing fourth with 193.825. Stanford has won their past 13 meetings, from the 2006 season on. Arizona's last victory in the series was March 26, 2005, at the Pac-10 Championships. The teams have met in straight dual meets each year since 1998, alternating home sites. In just those meets, Stanford leads the series 11-2. Arizona's victories both came in Tucson, in 2005 and in 1999. In their most recent dual in Tucson, Stanford got a scare from the Wildcats before winning, 195.575-195.175, in 2009.
Best Start Ever
After six meets, Stanford is averaging 196.650 points. If the Cardinal maintains that pace, it would be the team's highest average team score since 2004. Below is a comparison of 2011 with recent full-season averages:
2011: 196.650 (13-0 start and No. 2 ranking)
2010: 196.277 (NCAA fourth place)
2009: 196.295 (NCAA eighth place)
2008: 195.236 (Pac-10 champs; NCAA third place)
2007: 196.416 (Regional champ, NCAA fifth place)
2006: 195.682 (Pac-10 champs)
2005: 194.223 (fourth in Pac-10)
2004: 197.140 (Pac-10 chanps, NCAA third place)
Vault: Ikoma, Dayton, Ishino, A. Morgan, Alexander, Brown
Bars: Alexander, Ikoma, Vaculik, Ishino, Brown, Pechanec
Beam: Brown, Ikoma, Ishino, S. Morgan, Alexander, Vaculik
Floor: Ikoma, S. Morgan, Ishino, Pechanec, Alexander, A. Morgan
One aspect that has characterized Stanford's team this season is the team's pattern of clutch performances. Three times in six meets, Stanford has been tied or behind going into the final rotation, but has rallied to win each time: Jan. 23 against visiting UCLA (behind), Jan. 28 at Utah (tied), and Feb. 13 at Michigan (behind). In each meet, Stanford has finished strongly on a different apparatus. Against UCLA it was floor, vs. Utah it was beam, and vs. Michigan it was bars.
Senior Leadership, Plus One
The Cardinal has four team captains -- fifth-year senior Allyse Ishino, fourth-year seniors Shelley Alexander and Danielle Ikoma, and junior Alyssa Brown. Each has been key to Stanford's performances this season, and ability to excel under pressure.
Stanford's freshman class has made an impact. Kristina Vaculik and Shona Morgan are regulars in the lineup -- Vaculik on bars and beam, while scoring 9.825 in her only floor routine and Morgan on floor since returning from injury, scoring a winning 9.925 in her floor debut, Feb. 6, tying Stanford's season-best score.
Stanford in the National Rankings
Stanford is No. 2 in the GymInfo rankings, which are based on average team scores until next week, when they will be determined by Regional Qualifying Scores. The following is the Top 10:
1, Florida 196.150; 2, Stanford 196.650; 3, Utah 196.300; 4, Oklahoma 196.118; 5, Georgia 196.043; 6, Alabama 195.988; 7, Oregon State 195.896; 8, Michigan 195.779; 9, UCLA 195.575; 10, Nebraska 195.432.
All-Around: 3rd, Allyse Ishino, 39.345
5th, Shelley Alexander, 39.330
6th, Ashley Morgan, 39.325
Vault: 14th, Alyssa Brown, 9.871
17th, Shelley Alexander, 9.858
Bars: 4th, Alyssa Brown, 9.875
6th, Allyse Ishino, 9.867
8th, Nicole Pechanec, 9.863
Beam: 4th, Shelley Alexander, 9.865
9th, Shona Morgan, 9.833
12th, Nicole Pechanec, 9.825
17th, Ashley Morgan, 9.815
25th, Alyssa Brown, 9.804
Floor: 2nd, Ashley Morgan, 9.917
15th, Allyse Ishino, 9.855