SALT LAKE -- The No. 15 BYU women's gymnastics team finished the regular season Saturday night with a hard-fought loss to No. 4 Utah, 198.425-195.250. With 14,285 fans in the Huntsman Center, the Cougars were led once again by Kelly Evanson, who notched the second-best all-around score in BYU history with a 39.675.
The Cougars knew they were going to have to have the best night possible to knock off the Utes, but fell short of accomplishing that feat. Just like BYU did last week in its final home meet, the Utes set a new school record with their 198.425. The Utes have not lost a home meet since 1979. It just was not BYU's night, as several Cougars suffered injuries and others failed to stick their routines.
"This is the first time I've seen our heads get the best of us," BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. "There just isn't any reason for it."
Things started off rough for the Cougars on the uneven bars, as three gymnasts broke form and one was unable to perform. Junior co-captain Brooke Craig injured her back in warm-ups and could not compete the rest of the night. Evanson notched a 9.900 and Jeni Lopez scored a 9.850 on the event to highlight the Cougars' performance in the event.
"I thought we came in calm and confident and then we just lost it on bars," Evanson said.
BYU's second injury of the night came in the second event, as Megan Shupe landed hard on her left ankle trying to stick her vault. Senior Angie Hickman scored well with a 9.875 and Evanson kept up her high scoring with a 9.900.
On floor, a heartbreaking injury to Candace Cosgrave overshadowed an otherwise excellent event for the Cougars. Cosgrave, a junior co-captain, landed wrong on her left ankle in the middle of her routine and twisted it badly. Cosgrave suffered at least a severe sprain, or possibly even a break. She will most likely miss the postseason.
The Cougars fought hard on floor though and scored a 49.400. Lopez and Evanson each scored a 9.925, while sophomore Kari Dye scored a 9.900 to pace the Cougars. Hickman filled in for Craig in the floor lineup and scored a solid 9.800. Freshman Jaime Mabray also scored well with a 9.850.
Dye tied the school record with a 9.975 on balance beam and Evanson notched her career high with a 9.950 to finish things off strong for the Cougars. Dye's score ties Kelli Rose's 9.975 from 1997. Dye received a 10 from one judge, but the other judge awarded her a 9.950. Unfortunately, two Cougars fell off the beam and one came very close to doing the same. The 48.550 on beam, combined with the other scores, was not enough to overcome the Utes.
Theresa Kulikowski, one of Utah's several former U.S. National Team Members, led the Utes by scoring a 39.800 in the all-around. Kulikowski scored a 9.950 in each event. Deidra Graham had the second-best all-around score of the night with a 39.725, followed by Evanson's 39.675. Lopez's score of 39.300, the second-best mark of her career, was good for fifth place at the meet.
BYU will have next weekend off before heading to Denver for the NCAA Regional meet. The meet will take place Apr. 6, with the top two teams at Regionals advancing to the NCAA National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala.