LOS ANGELES -- The 20th ranked Arizona State women's gymnastics team executed at the highest level for three-straight rotations, including hitting a season-high score of 49.300 on floor. However, with a limited line up, beam proved to be an Achilles heel for the Gym Devils and ASU fell to UCLA 194.950-196.925, Saturday, in Los Angeles.
Sophomore Risa Perez, who led the Sun Devils off on bars to start the meet, had once of the best overall performances of her career. Perez kicked off the bar line-up with a career-high score of 9.800, only to follow up the routine with career-high tying performances on floor and beam with a score of 9.875 in both events. Always a crowd favorite, Perez had the full attention of the audience in Pauley Pavilion during her high-energy floor routine and took second place overall in the event.
As a team, the Sun Devils executed at a high level on floor, setting a new season high of 49.300 and outscoring the fourth-ranked floor team in the nation, in UCLA, by three tenths in the event. They Gym Devils were able to drop a score of 9.750 with the next five scores toping 9.825 and higher. The biggest score of the meet came from junior Natasha Sundby, who was awarded a career-high 9.925 to close out the ASU floor line-up. In front of her personal cheering section made up of family and friends, Sundby was named co-floor champion along with Sydney Sawa of UCLA.
Arizona State opened the meet with a strong showing on bars. Led off by Perez, the Sun Devils were able to add a career-high tying score of 9.850 from Stephanie Miceli and another solid routine from top barworker Carissa Kraus with a score of 9.875.
On vault ASU was short freshman Gilly Hogue, who was sidelined for her second-straight meet with a lingering injury. The Sun Devils only vaulted five athletes, rather than the standard six. Paced by a 9.800 from senior Sammie Seaman, Sundby (9.825) and Kraus (9.850) would earn the top scores for the Gym Devils on vault.
The Sun Devils were solid through 21 of their 24 routines. Starting the final rotation, ASU recorded scores of 9.700, 9.825 and 9.875 on beam. However, three falls in the final three beam routines proved costly in a sport that measures success by tenths and hundredths. Missing Hogue’s presence on beam, ASU had two uncharacteristic falls from solid competitors junior Brianna Gades and sophomore Stephanie Miceli. Without Hogue in the line-up, Sundby filled in the sixth line-up spot and also recorded a fall.
Despite the disappointment at the end of the meet, the team executed at such a high level for almost 90 percent of the meet, which was broadcast nationally on the Pac-12 Network. The Sun Devils return to the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena on Sat., Feb. 15 to host BYU at 7 p.m. in the team’s annual Pink Meet for breast cancer awareness.