Jan. 19, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
The Stanford women’s gymnastics team opens its home schedule by taking on defending NCAA champion UCLA on Sunday (2 p.m.) at Burnham Pavilion. The teams have already met this season, with both being part of the season-opening Pac-10 Showcase, held at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 9. Stanford was first and then-No. 1 UCLA was second. This will be the second of four regular-season meetings between the two schools, which have combined to win the past 14 Pac-10 Conference championships. Stanford (6-0) is ranked No. 2 in the nation and UCLA (5-3) has dropped to No. 8 after being the preseason No. 1.
Sunday’s Opponent: UCLA
The defending NCAA champion Bruins have gotten off to a shaky start since losing 2010 Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year and U.S. national team member Vanessa Zamarripa for the season with an Achilles injury. UCLA has competed in three meets so far, losing separate duals to current No. 4 Utah and No. 20 Southern Utah, and finishing second to No. 2 Stanford at the seven-team Pac-10 Showcase at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 9. UCLA, which opened as the nation’s top-ranked team, has a record of 5-3.
Even without Zamarripa, UCLA still has some of the conference’s top performers, especially defending NCAA floor exercise champion Brittani McCullough and first-team vault All-America Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, who won three events at the Pac-10 Showcase, including the all-around.
The UCLA Series
Stanford and UCLA will meet four times through the Pac-10 Championships this season and possibly again in NCAA competition. Together, they have won the past 14 Pac-10 titles. The teams split their four meetings last year, and Stanford beat the Bruins at the Pac-10 Showcase at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 9. Since 2007, the teams have met 15 times, with Stanford holding an 8-7 lead in that span. UCLA’s last victory at Burnham Pavilion was Jan. 17, 1997, though that is deceiving because the teams have met only three times there since, with Stanford holding a 2-0-1 edge. Since 1997, UCLA holds a 5-3-1 series lead at Stanford.
Stanford opened its season Jan. 9 with a victory at the first Pac-10 Showcase, at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. The Cardinal scored 196.625 to finish ahead of second-place UCLA (195.925) and five other conference schools. Shelley Alexander and Alyssa Brown tied for the victory in the vault and Allyse Ishino finished in the top three on the uneven bars, floor exercise and all-around competitions. Ishino set a career-best on floor (9.90) and tied her best on bars (9.925). Sophomore Ashley Morgan also had a big day, tying her career best on the floor, with a runner-up score of 9.925.
• Shelley Alexander, sr.: Won vault (9.95) and beam (9.90) at the 2010 NCAA Southeast Regional in Morgantown, W.Va. ... in her second season as team captain ... first-team All-Pac-10 on vault (Pac-10 runner-up) and floor in 2009.
• Alyssa Brown, jr.: A second-team All-Pac-10 selection on balance beam in 2010 ... tied for fifth in the conference on vault ... in her first year as team captain ... Canadian national champ on vault and beam in 2006.
• Allyse Ishino, sr.: A fifth-year senior and team captain ... a three-time All-Pac-10 selection on the beam ... won the 2009 NCAA South Central Regional bars title ... four-year member of the U.S. national team.
Vault: Ikoma, Dayton, Alexander, Brown, Morgan, Ishino
Bars: Alexander, Ikoma, Pechanec, Vaculik, Ishino, Brown
Beam: Brown, Ikoma, Ishino, Vaculik, A. Morgan, Alexander
Floor: Ikoma, Ishino, Pechanec, Alexander, A. Morgan, Vaculik
The Burnham Advantage
Stanford is undefeated at Burnham Pavilion against Pac-10 competition since a loss to Washington on Jan. 16, 1998. Since then, the Cardinal is 29-0-1 against conference foes. Overall, Stanford is 42-1-1 at Burnham since that 1998 loss. The only blemishes were a season-opening loss to eventual national champion Georgia in 2008 and a tie with UCLA in 2003.
Stanford in the National Rankings
Stanford opened the season ranked No. 6 in the GymInfo coaches’ poll, but moved up to No. 2 after its performance at the Pac-10 Showcase. All rankings are based on average team scores.
The following is the current Top 10:
1, Florida 196.850; 2, Stanford 196.625; 3, Oklahoma 195.825; 4, Utah 195.800; 5, Georgia 195.688; 6, Oregon State 195.567; 7, Michigan 195.300; 8, UCLA 195.217; 9, Nebraska 195.200; 10, North Carolina State 195.150.
Super Six Experience
Stanford has seven gymnasts who were part of the team that competed in the 2010 NCAA Super Six finals in Gainesville, Fla., and finished fourth. They are: Shelley Alexander, Alyssa Brown, Danielle Ikoma, Allyse Ishino, Ashley Morgan, Nicole Pechanec, and Jenny Peter.