Stanford grabs first win at Utah
Cardinal take top-5 showdown on last rotation behind Ikoma
SALT LAKE CITY -- With no room for failure and 13,835 fans watching her every move, senior captain Danielle Ikoma nailed her balance beam routine to give No. 2 Stanford a 196.825-196.500 victory against No. 4 Utah at the Huntsman Center.
With the teams deadlocked going into the final rotation -- the beam for Stanford and the floor exercise for Utah -- Stanford suffered a blow when one gymnast fell. Because five of the six scores count, the Cardinal could not afford another miss.
Instead, Ashley Morgan followed with an excellent 9.90 score and Shelley Alexander scored a 9.80. That left the meet up to Ikoma, who stayed focused and aggressive to punch in a season-best 9.875 to ensure the victory and give the Cardinal its first-ever victory at Utah in eight tries.
Stanford's beam score of 49.325 bettered Utah's 49.000 to give the Cardinal (8-0) the victory over the Red Rocks (3-1) in a matchup between 2010 NCAA Super Six finalists.
To illustrate how clutch Stanford's performance was, the Cardinal's beam score was its highest in any event of the season and it included the team's first fall this year.
Alyssa Brown led with a 9.85 to 9.725 for Utah's leadoff, Lia Del Priore, and Allyse Ishino put more pressure on Utah by scoring 9.90 in the second position.
Ishino went on to win the all-around with a career-best 39.475 to finish with three victories. She also won the uneven bars (9.90) and finished in a three-way tie with Ashley Morgan, and Utah's Mary Beth Lofgren for first on the beam (9.90).
In three meets, Morgan turned in her third 9.925 on the floor, likely keeping her No. 1 national ranking for highest average score in the event.
Shelley Alexander captured the vault with a season-best 9.90.