No steps was a big step for Utah's outstanding vaulting team, but from its strong beginning Friday night in the Huntsman Center, things got a little less lustrous for the University of Utah gymnasts in their Power of Pink breast-cancer awareness meet against 25th-ranked Washington.
The third-ranked Utes put up their highest score of the season and did a reasonably good job considering they'd also had an emotional meet at Georgia on Monday.
And they beat Washington easily, 196.85-193.45, even though beam found them making more mistakes than usual after a strong but underscored beam set at Georgia Monday.
"There certainly wasn't the electricity that there was on Monday night at Georgia or that there was a couple Fridays ago with UCLA (in the Huntsman Center to open the season)," said Ute coach Greg Marsden.
He was pleased, though, that the team only went part of the way in the direction he'd been obsessing about. He had worried about complete loss of focus after meeting their arch-rival in Athens to start the week.
"It wasn't what I feared that we would look like a totally different team," he said. "I don't feel like there was a big letdown. I just felt like there wasn't quite the energy, and we weren't quite as sharp as Monday."
He wasn't sure if it was a slight letdown or some fatigue from the emotion and three days out of town and no practice to start the week.
It kind of surprised him after the way the Utes vaulted Friday, sticking several and coming inches from sticking a couple of the others. Even exhibition vaulter Kyndal Robarts (torn labrum) planted her vault, giving hope she can come back soon.
"I thought that was really the one event that was a step forward tonight, so I was really excited that we weren't going to be flat and we'd get on a roll and really have a good meet and that didn't happen."
"It was better," asserted senior all-around winner Kristina Baskett. "Our last three meets, we've been increasing our team score, and that's our goal. We still had some mistakes, but I think they're early season mistakes, and we didn't have to count a fall. And we had fun."
Following the 49.25 vault set capped with Baskett's stuck 9.925, the Utes had a fairly strong bars (49.35), thanks in part to Daria Bijak tying her career high with 9.925.
But then they had a mixed bag on beam with a fall, several big wobbles, and Bijak touching her hand to the beam to steady herself. That netted 48.925.
Floor was 49.325, but the only thing in the 9.90 range was the 9.90 by Bijak to tie another of her career highs.
"I went into the warmup, and I felt, 'That's my day,"' Bijak said. "I felt really good with all my skills, and that's how I went through the meet. I think I relaxed.
"After bars, I was really hyper, and I really wanted to do it, and then I messed up a little bit (on beam), and then I got it back on the floor."
Baskett had a strong all-around victory, scoring 39.625, just .75 off her career best. She'd have probably come close to that but stumbled slightly coming out of her double-Arabian first pass on floor, scoring 9.875. Her other scores were all in the 9.9s with 9.90 on beam and 9.925s on bars and vault, where she did her upgraded Yurchenko 1 1/2.
"I just feel really good with my gymnastics now," Baskett said. "I feel really confident, and I feel mature. I'm feeling very at-ease on the competition floor and able to do what I do in practice. It's good to have that feeling after training for so long.
Washington's top score was 9.90 vault by Ashley Houghting.
The meet will be televised on tape on CW30 Sunday at 11 a.m. and on The mtn. Jan. 29 at 10 p.m. and on Comcast on Demand.1 comment on this story
Ute season ticket sales have now topped 5,000 for the first time in school history. As of Friday morning, the count was 5,612. Friday's attendance was 12,099.
Vault: 1. Baskett, Utah 9.925; 2. Houghting, Washington 9.900; 3. Kim, Utah 9.875
Bars: 1. Bijak, Utah 9.925, Baskett, Utah 9.925; 3. Deetscreek, Utah 9.875
Beam: 1. Baskett, Utah 9.900; 2. Kim, Utah 9.875; 3. Deetscreek, Utah 9.850
Floor: 1. Bijak, Utah 9.900; 2. Baskett, Utah 9.875, DiLuzio, Utah 9.875
All-Around: 1. Baskett, Utah 39.625; 2. Kim, Utah 39.375; 3. Deetscreek, Utah 39.225