March 15, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
The No. 3 Stanford women’s gymnastics team begins postseason competition Saturday at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, at 4 p.m. The Cardinal (17-1 overall) is 12-1 against conference competition this year, including a first place in the season-opening Pac-10 Showcase at the same venue and against the same teams. The Cardinal welcomes the return of fifth-year senior Allyse Ishino, who has missed the past two meets because of injury, and boasts the national leader on the floor excercise, sophomore Ashley Morgan. Stanford has won five Pac-10 titles and eight conference championships in all, but is seeking its first since 2008.
Notable Achievements in 2011
• Best dual-meet record in school history (17-1)
• Ranked No. 3 in the nation
• Best team season average (196.503) since 2004
• Ranked among the nation’s top 10 in every event
• The nation’s No. 1-ranked gymnast on floor exercise, Ashley Morgan
• Beat defending NCAA champion UCLA three times
• Record against fellow Pac-10 contenders UCLA and Oregon State: 5-1
• Three times rallied from behind or tied in the final rotation to win
• Handed Utah its first home loss in four years
• Handed Michigan its first home loss in three years
• Record against Top 10 teams: 7-1 (8-1 against Top 11)
• Toughest schedule in the country, with 12-1 record against Top 25 teams
Follow the Action
• Links to live stats can be found at gostanford.com.
• Stanford updates can be found on Stanford’s twitter account, go to twitter@stanfordwgym or watch just-uploaded videos at the team’s SWG Live Facebook page.
• FSN will broadcast the meet on a tape-delayed basis. In the Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area will show the meet on March 26 at 2:30 p.m., and March 31 at 4:30 p.m. Jim Watson and Amanda Borden will call the action.
• Stanford has won five Pac-10 titles since winning its first in 1998.
• Stanford has finished no worse than third since 2006.
• Stanford teams under Kristen Smyth (since 2002) have won three titles, and earned three second-places, two thirds and one fourth.
• Eight Stanford gymnasts have combined for 20 individual titles, all since 2001.
• No current Stanford gymnast has won a Pac-10 championship.
• Stanford is seeking its first Pac-10 team title since 2008.
• Stanford has won eight conference titles in all, including three in the Northern California Conference from 1980-82.
• 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 ... first-team bars in 2008, first-team beam in 2009, second-team bars in 2010 ... won the 2009 NCAA South Central Regional bars title ... 2004 U.S. Olympic team alternate ... missed past two meets because of sprained ankle ... is expected to compete on bars and beam.
• Nicole Pechanec, jr.: An All-Pac-10 second-team selection on the floor in 2010 ... has hit 9.9’s in three events this season ... in October, competed in the all-around at the World Championships in Rotterdam, her third worlds for the Czech Republic.
No team in Stanford history can match this year’s 17-1 dual-meet record. Stanford entered its final meet -- a quad meet in Berkeley on March 6 -- as one of two undefeated teams left in the country, along with Oklahoma, before suffering its first loss, to Oregon State. Stanford’s previous best record going into the conference meet was 14-2, set last year by a team that finished fourth in the nation.
Ashley Morgan: National Leader
Sophomore Ashley Morgan leads the nation on the floor exercise with a Regional Qualifying Score of 9.925 and an average of 9.917. Only Nebraska’s Erin Davis on vault has better scores in any event (9.935 RQS, 9.928 average). Morgan is on an eight-meet winning streak, having failed to capture first only once, at the season-opening Pac-10 Showcase when she was second to UCLA’s Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, who scored a 9.950 to Morgan’s 9.925. Morgan has scored 9.900 or higher in eight of Stanford’s nine meets and her lowest score of 9.875 still was good enough to win. Morgan, the daughter of baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, has been locked in a battle with Florida’s Ashanee Dickerson (9.920) for the national lead all season.
Vault: Ikoma, A. Morgan, Dayton, Alexander, Brown, Pechanec
Bars: Alexander, Dayton, Ikoma, Brown, Pechanec, A. Morgan
Beam: Brown, Pechanec, Ikoma, A. Morgan, Alexander, S. Morgan
Floor: Ikoma, Dayton, Pechanec, Alexander, A. Morgan, S. Morgan
All-Around: 14th, Shelley Alexander, 39.285 (3rd)
Vault: 21st, Alyssa Brown, 9.880 (4th)
Bars: 13th, Alyssa Brown, 9.885 (3rd)
13th, Nicole Pechanec, 9.885 (3rd)
15th, Allyse Ishino, 9.880 (5th)
Floor: 1st, Ashley Morgan, 9.925 (1st)
• Vault: 9.867 (Alyssa Brown)-9.786
• Bars: 9.872 (Alyssa Brown)-9.763
• Beam: 9.850 (Shelley Alexander)-9.775
• Floor: 9.917 (Ashley Morgan)-9.758
• All-Around: 39.345 (Allyse Ishino)-38.850 (five total)
Super Six Experience
Stanford has six available gymnasts who were part of the lineups 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, and Nicole Pechanec. Junior Jenny Peter also has Super Six experience, but is out with an injury.
Regional Fields to be Announced Monday
Stanford will find out its NCAA regional destination on Monday. Six groups of six will compete on April 2 for the 12 team spots for the April 15-17 NCAA Championships in Cleveland.
Ishino to Return
Fifth-year senior, co-captain and top all-around competitor Allyse Ishino is expected to return for the Pac-10 Championships after missing the past two meets because of an ankle sprain. Ishino rolled her ankle on a tumbling pass during the floor exercise in a dual meet at Arizona on Feb. 18. Ishino was unable to finish her routine and was pulled from the balance beam lineup. Ishino is expected to compete on the bars and beam at Pac-10s. For regionals, she may add vault. If Stanford reaches the NCAA’s, the hope is for Ishino to compete in all four events.
Brown at Leadoff
The balance beam is unquestionably the most nerve-wracking event and often the one that can make the biggest difference in a meet because of the mistakes that can occur. For Stanford, the event may be the team’s best, and a big reason is the coolness under pressure exhibited by junior captain Alyssa Brown. The 2006 Canadian national beam champion is the leadoff for Stanford’s lineup and sets the tone for her teammates with her confident routines. Brown is averaging 9.789 in the event (second-best on the team), and leads the Cardinal with averages of 9.867 on vault and 9.872 on 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. It’s no coincidence that a captain holds Stanford’s leadoff position for every event.
One aspect that has characterized Stanford’s team this season is its’ pattern of clutch performances. Three times (vs. UCLA, Utah, Michigan) Stanford has been tied or behind going into the final rotation, but has rallied to win.
Stanford opened the season with a victory in the Pac-10 Showcase on Jan. 9 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in what was essentially a dry run for the conference championship meet, with all seven Pac-10 teams taking part.
Among the highlights for Stanford were the vault performances by Shelley Alexander and Alyssa Brown, who were among four to finish tied for first, at 9.875. Although Ashley Morgan didn’t win the floor for the only time this season, she recorded a score of 9.925 to finish second.
Pac-10 Duals vs. UCLA and Oregon State
Besides their meeting at the Pac-10 Showcase, Stanford has competed against UCLA and Oregon State twice each. Overall, Stanford is 3-0 vs. UCLA and 2-1 against Oregon State. All three teams competed at the IGI Chicago Style Invitational at Chicago’s Navy Pier on Feb. 11. The scores: Stanford 196.475, Oregon State 196.350, UCLA 196.300. Also, Stanford rallied on the final rotation to beat UCLA in a dual at Stanford’s Burnham Pavilion on Jan. 23. Stanford lost to Oregon State in their most recent meet, March 6 at Cal, by a 197.000-196.500 score.