U. gymnasts drop another Pac-10 foe

Published: Saturday, Jan. 14 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

SEATTLE — Utah coach Greg Marsden altered his lineup from last week's win over UCLA, but the result was the same: A win over a Pac-10 team on the road. A lineup change, however, he didn't make had Marsden kicking himself after No. 4 Utah's 195.625-193.325 win over No. 18 Washington.

"Boy, did I blow that decision," he moaned after freshman Kristina Baskett received a 9.90 score in an exhibition routine after the close of a Utah beam set that began with two falls.

Baskett, from nearby Normandy Park, Wash., would have easily won the all-around had her beam score been counted. "I should have let her go all-around in her return home," admitted Marsden. "But she hadn't trained particularly well and some others earned the opportunity. I'm trying to teach Kristina to train better in practice. In club gymnastics, you pay a fee and do all four events in the meet. She's proved she's a competitor, which is great, but it takes time for a coach to learn that."

Before the meet, it was questionable whether Baskett would compete at all after she dislocated her middle finger on her first practice vault. The biggest area of concern was the uneven bars and Marsden left the decision to compete up to his star freshman.

That proved a good decision on his part. Between events Baskett put the finger on ice, but on the apparatus, she was on fire. She pushed aside the pain to swing to a 9.85 on the bars and tie for second place. Back on the vault, she dislocated the finger again, but her 9.90 still tied her for first with teammate Ashley Postell. A 9.775 floor routine finished Baskett's scoring routines and the 9.90 exhibition beam routine likely finished her time as a three-event performer.

Baskett's big beam mark took some of the sting out of a sub-par Ute beam effort that started with falls by normally reliable Gabriella Onodi and Kristen Riffanacht. For the second time in as many meets, freshman Nina Kim found herself in the pressure situation of following two falls. Again Kim pulled through — getting the Utes back on track with a 9.725 routine. Her remaining beam teammates responded: Gritt Hofmann and Nicolle Ford both scored 9.85s, while Postell won the event with a 9.875.

Postell gave the crowd a treat earlier in the meet when she performed a vault she hadn't tried in competition since her Elite days. She received a 9.90 for her Yurchenko with a one half twist on, front pike with a half twist off. Postell also won the all-around with a 38.80 that included a fall on the uneven bars.

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