It didn’t take long for Jordan Chiles to match the heights she reached a week earlier.
But much like her 10 on floor against the Red Rocks a week ago, Chiles’ perfect score on bars wasn’t quite enough to lift the Bruins to victory.
No. 16 UCLA gymnastics (2-5) fell to No. 19 Stanford (2-5) on the road on Saturday, slipping back a bit from last Friday’s season-best performance to lose 196.900-196.850. Chiles got the ball rolling early with her perfect 10 in the opening rotation, but the freshman and recent Team USA Olympian was unable to come through on beam late, wiping out the Bruins’ resurgent performance in the final event.
Sophomore Chae Campbell led things off with a 9.825 on bars, although the next two scores that came in each failed to reach that mark. Sophomore Sara Ulias and freshman Ana Padurariu posted 9.700 and 9.750, respectively, giving the Bruins what turned out to be the three lowest scores of the event.
Freshman Emma Malabuyo got things back on track with a 9.875, setting up Chiles to break through with her perfect 10. Chiles set a career-high 9.925 on bars against Utah last week, and her new personal best wound up being the lift UCLA needed early. Senior Norah Flatley anchored the event with a 9.900, putting the Bruins up 49.350-48.975.
Coach Chris Waller went with a new look on vault, sending senior Sekai Wright out first for her first attempt of the discipline all season. Wright opened with a 9.825, but Flately faltered and scored a 9.725. Senior Kendal Poston had an identical score the very next turn, meaning at least one of the 9.725s would count against UCLA.
Malabuyo once again stood out, marking a turning point with her 9.825 that led into Chiles’ 9.875 and Campbell’s 9.900, the top two scores by either team on vault. The Bruins led the Cardinal 48.500-48.425 midway through the dual-meet.
UCLA has long been known for its dominance on floor, and even through the ups and downs of the early part of 2022, that remained relatively constant this season. Chiles put up a perfect 10 a week ago, going viral in the process, and the Bruins ranked No. 19 in the country on floor entering Saturday.
The team’s 49.144 floor average would take a hit against Stanford, though, as no one added a score 9.900 or above during the pivotal third rotation. Flatley started off with a 9.250, which was eventually wiped off the board, but senior Pauline Tratz’s replacement, sophomore Katie McNamara, wound up posting another low score with a 9.625.
Chiles followed up her perfect 10 from a week ago with a 9.825, while Campbell and Malabuyo led UCLA with 9.875s. The Bruins’ didn’t lose any ground since the Cardinal put up an identical 48.975 on beam concurrently, but they were still clinging to just a 147.475-147.00 lead heading into the final rotation.
Being the road team, UCLA was set up to close on beam, which was actually its top event entering the dual-meet. The Bruins ranked No. 10 on the event through the first four weeks of the season, averaging a 49.194 each time out, a mark they bested up in Stanford this weekend.
It didn’t start off that way, though, and that is what held back the otherwise clutch performance from holding off Stanford late.
Padurariu and Chiles scored 9.675 and 9.550, respectively, to get the event started. Even though UCLA hardly missed a beat from that point forward, the two falls ultimately cost them the win.
Malabuyo and Campbell scored 9.900s, then senior Samantha Sakti came through with a career-high 9.500. Needing a hit to stay in contention, Poston came in for Flatley as a late sub and tied her career high with a fourth-straight 9.900.
Stanford was busy putting up big numbers on the other side of the gym, including a 9.975 from Kyla Bryant to anchor the Cardinal’s go-ahead effort. For the second week in a row, the Bruins finished strong, but their opponent finished just strong enough to knock them down by the time final scores were coming in.
UCLA’s next meet is set for Feb. 20 on the road against Arizona State, with competition set to get underway at 2 p.m.
Follow Connon on Twitter at @SamConnonFollow All Bruins on Twitter at @SI_AllBruinsLike All Bruins on Facebook at @SI.AllBruinsSubscribe to All Bruins on YouTube
Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports IllustratedRead more UCLA Olympic sports stories: UCLA Olympic Sports on Sports Illustrated