Feb. 28, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Great competition is nothing new to No. 4 ranked Alabama gymnastics, especially within the confines of Coleman Coliseum, but the two-time defending champions will engage in a clash of the titans this Friday at 7:30 p.m. when the No. 6 ranked UCLA Bruins come to town.
"There are 12 national championships between the two teams," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "It's going to be an incredible meet. They're hosting the NCAA Championships this year and they're on fire right now getting ready for that meet. Competing against teams like UCLA is why we won't be looking over shoulder when the postseason rolls around."
Both teams have won six national championships, including the last three in a row with UCLA winning in 2010 and Alabama in 2011 and 2012. The Tide has seven and the Bruins sport six All-Americans on their respective rosters this year. Both teams were away from home last week, posting the top-2 road scores in the country at 197.2 for the Bruins and 197.1 for the Tide.
Tickets to the champions' showdown are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum and online at RollTide.com.
Alabama is led by the All-American junior trio of Sarah DeMeo, Kim Jacob and Diandra Milliner. DeMeo scored two 9.9s and a 9.875 at Arkansas last week while Jacob posted a 9.9 on the floor exercise for the sixth time this season. Milliner led off the Tide's balance beam rotation against the Razorbacks with a 9.9, tying her career-best score.
Valoire Kondos Field is in her 23rd season as the Bruins head coach and the Bruins are led by senior All-American Vanessa Zamarripa, who is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the all-around.
The two powerhouses are regulars at the top of the standings at the end of the year with Alabama earning 25 "final four" finishes at the NCAA Championships while the Bruins have totaled 22. More recently both teams have finished in the top three at the national championships over the last three seasons.
While the two teams see each other regularly at the NCAA Championships, including last season when Alabama won its sixth title and UCLA finished a tenth of a point back in third place, regular season meetings are fairly rare.
The two champions last met during the regular season in Los Angeles during the 2008 season when the Tide bettered the Bruins 195.925-195.800. UCLA last traveled to Tuscaloosa in 2007, when the Tide closed out its regular-season home slate with a 197.225-196.475 win over the Bruins.