The Utes managed their second-best score of the season Monday night with several replacement gymnasts in the lineup, defeating Utah State, which also had its second-best score of the season, Monday night in the Smith Spectrum, 196.95-193.50.
"That's so awesome," said senior Kristina Baskett, whose 39.675 all-around was her best of the season, a tick better than the 39.65 she scored Friday at home and .025 off her career best.
"I'm so excited for Jacq (Johnson, whose 9.775 floor was her first-ever event to count toward her team's score) to get out and compete for the first time, and to get Gael (Mackie, who did her first career all-around) out there and get her to nail her beam routine. I'm just so excited for those girls tonight," Baskett said.
"They deserve it because they've been working so hard for it, and for them to take a part in getting one of our highest scores is so cool for them."
Jamie Deetscreek's 9.925 bars was her career-best and helped her to a career-high 39.50 all-around, while Mackie totaled 39.125 in her career debut.
"What can I say?" Marsden said of Deetscreek. "She's a rock."
Kyndal Robarts vaulted and did floor for the first time this season.
And senior Kim, who was supposed to be resting from all-around chores, suddenly had to replace freshman Stephanie McAllister on floor, learning she was in the lineup just before the three-minute touch warmup and McAllister had to run up the tunnel to be sick after doing two events.
Kim went out of bounds, and Utah had its lowest floor total of the season, 48.925, which gave the Aggies a chance to tie them in that event.
"It's just too bad we couldn't have rocked floor," Marsden said. "We had to ask Nina at the very last minute, and she really hadn't even warmed up."
And he surmised Robarts was trying too hard when she fell.
First-year Utah State coach Jeff Richards said his team is making big strides, and he especially saw that on beam Monday.
"We're making really good progress," Richards said. "Tonight I saw a completely different team on beam. They came out, they attacked, they were aggressive, they did a little bit better.
"The other events, we're starting to put together the things that we need to do, we're finally cleaning things up, we're not taking steps. We're starting to get there."
The Aggies' best scores were a 9.875 by Nicole Simoneau on bars and three consecutive 9.825s on floor by Jackie Dillon, Erica Huelsmann and Heather Heinrich.
Baskett had an off outing at Oregon State Jan. 30 but has had two outstanding nights in the past four.
"Of course, I'm tired," she said, "but my body is healthy now, and I felt good going into today. We did have two days off, so my body was able to refresh a little bit.
"I feel good. My gymnastics has been going great and so I have really a confidence, and I'm at peace with what I've been doing," Baskett said.
"Both Friday and today, her stuff looked easy for her," Marsden said. "She's really got a lot of confidence right now.
"She's learned to really take advantage of when things feel easy for her."
Utah completes a big eight-day period with a meet at Nebraska site of the 2009 NCAA championships on Friday night.
Utah State is off until Feb. 20 when it visits BYU with San Jose State and Boise State.
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