Utah Utes gymnastics: 'Good' is good enough for U.

By Linda Hamilton

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 7 2009 12:12 a.m. MST

The University of Utah's Jamie Deetscreek competes against ASU on the balance beam at the Huntsman Center on Friday. Deetscreek was a runner-up for the all-around title of the tournament. The Utes beat ASU 197.34 to 194.35.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

On a night when the second-ranked Ute gymnasts were "good but not great," according to coach Greg Marsden, they still scored their second-best total of the season in beating No. 28 Arizona State in the Huntsman Center, 197.35-194.35.

Utah was on fire in the first and third events, vault and beam, scoring season bests of 49.525 and 49.45, respectively.

"Vault and beam we probably can't do it any better than that," Marsden said.

But while it stuck five dismounts on bars, Utah was obviously off on a number of in-routine skills like handstands, and totaled 49.125. And the Utes didn't post a 9.90 on floor.

The Utes had to make a late substitution on floor when senior Nina Kim felt she didn't have strong legs following beam (9.90) and pulled herself out of the floor lineup, opening the door for freshman Stephanie McAllister, who had been penciled in for exhibition. McAllister scored 9.85.

"My first reaction was I was excited," said McAllister.

"Steph stepped in and did a great job," said Marsden.

For the second straight home meet, Utah went through its lineup without a fall on either the routines that counted or on the exhibitions.

"We're down to the little things," said Marsden, not down at all about his No. 1-ranked floor team and second-ranked bars team having off nights. There were several upgrades on floor to explain some of the difficulties.

"It's not like anybody is falling off the equipment, and we're in risk of counting falls, or anything like that," Marsden said.

"I mean, we're worried about hitting handstands and hitting upgrades and cleaning things up, so that's where we should be, that's where we need to be at this point in the season, and I feel good about where we are," Marsden said.

"We're continuing to make progress, and we just need to do that throughout the rest of the season and going into the postseason."

"Bars is an easy fix," said Ute senior Kristina Baskett, who won the all-around with 39.575, despite stepping out of bounds for a .1 deduction on her first floor pass.

"We just need to work on our handstands."

Baskett was also happy with her own floor routine despite the out of bounds because she was able to successfully switch her double-somersault pass back to her final tumbling run after doing it as the middle pass for much of the season while she worked at keeping it inbounds.

"It's OK. I'll just fix it at the next meet," she said of her too-energetic first pass that went out of bounds.

Baskett tied her career high again on beam with 9.90 and had 9.925 on bars, the only score Utah had above 9.825 on that event.

Baskett was the poster child for the night's promotion – Short People Appreciation Night. Anyone who was shorter than her 5-foot-1 cardboard cutout at the gates got in for free.

A crowd of 14,453 Friday drew Utah's season average to 13,616. It needs only 10,910 next Friday when No. 4 Florida visits to break its all-time NCAA season average from 1993 of 13,164.

Annie DiLuzio scored a career-best 9.95 on vault for the best score of the night, and Utah had four scores of 9.90 or better on that event.

Daria Bijak tied her career high of 9.90 on beam using a different and upgraded dismount than the one that gave her trouble last meet. She did front full layout off the beam instead of a tucked front and said she didn't have any kind of step at all.

That made up for a bar routine in which she missed on her first pirouette early in the routine and had to improvise the rest of the way. "I don't know how I did that, but I did not want to go down," she said.

Marsden said most people would have fallen. "It was completely improvisational." But it scored 9.80.

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