TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 25 California women’s gymnastics team tallied scores of 49.0 or higher in three events to produce another strong outing against a ranked opponent in its 196.000-195.350 loss to No. 23 Arizona State Friday evening in Tempe, Ariz. The Golden Bears (3-4, 0-3 Pac-12) held the lead through three events before relinquishing it to the Sun Devils (5-1, 2-0 Pac-12) following a pair of falls in Cal’s final rotation.
Cal claimed at least a share of the title in three of the four events, and freshman Charlie Owens claimed her first-ever all-around title with a career-high 39.175. The newcomer also posted new personal bests in three of the afternoon’s four events.
“It was critical for us to go out on the road and get a solid score,” said Cal head coach Justin Howell. “Despite the falls on beam, our performance will definitely help improve our average and give us confidence, so in a lot of ways this was a win for us.”
The Bears got off to a hot start on the uneven bars, posting a season-high 49.075 team score. Cal has now posted a team-high of 49.0 or greater on each apparatus this season. The event saw new career-highs from all three freshmen in the event, with a 9.8 from Jessica Howe, 9.825 from Owens and 9.725 from Emily Richardson. Senior Alicia Asturias claimed the title by matching her season-high 9.875, and senior Dallas Crawford claimed second with a 9.85.
Cal was equally strong on vault, setting another season-high team score with a 49.050. Leong claimed the vault title by recording a career-high 9.90 for the third time in her young career, and Owens also matched her career-high 9.775. Junior Maddie Kratzke posted a career-high 9.80 to share third with Asturias.
“Vault was awesome. We’ve been focusing a lot in practice on trying to see the landing and holding landings, and we had a lot more stuck landings tonight. I felt that we really improved there,” Howell said.
The floor exercise resulted in another top score with the Bears posting their third 49.0 of the night. Owens led the team with a 9.85, good for second overall, and Asturias finished third with a 9.825.
Cal relinquished its lead in the final rotation with a pair of costly balance beam routines that forced the Bears to count a fall. The team ended the meet with a 48.225 on beam, which was not enough to hold off Arizona State’s six-for-six floor showing. Despite the result, Howe still claimed a share of the beam title with a 9.85, marking the second meet in a row that Howe was crowned beam champion.
“If we put everything together, we’re at least a mid-196.0 team. The team was disappointed with our final score because they know what they’re capable of,” Howell said. “I’m glad to see that they’re hungry.”
Cal returns to Haas Pavilion for another key Pac-12 matchup on Friday, Jan. 31. The Bears host UCLA at 6 p.m. live on the Pac-12 Networks.
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