Cal women’s gymnastics returns home to face No. 19 Arizona

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For the two women’s teams who call Haas Pavilion home during the winter season — gymnastics and basketball — ranked opponents have been an anomaly that has yet to be solved. Against No. 19 Arizona in its first home competition of the season, the Cal women’s gymnastics team will have an opportunity to get back in the win column and snap its streak of losses to top-25 programs.

With the weather beginning to heat up a little bit in Berkeley, the familiar atmosphere of Haas will provide the Bears with an opportunity to end their hibernation and finally heat up.

Despite a triumphant win in the five-team NorCal Classic over the likes of now-No. 21 Stanford, UC Davis, San Jose State and Sacramento State — a victory that landed Cal at the No. 10 slot in the national rankings — the team has been off the mark in its past three competitions.

In their first four matches last season, the Bears posted an average score of 195.8 and defeated a couple of Pac-12 opponents along the way. In its first four matches this season, however, Cal has posted an average score of 194.9 and has yet to touch its average mark from last season.

Arizona heads into the Bay Area riding its own respective rough wave, having dropped its first four matches of the season to a quartet of ranked opponents in then-No. 8 Denver, then-No. 12 Iowa State, then-No. 4 UCLA and then-No. 3 Utah. In the losses, the GymCats posted an average score of 195.6.

For all the lows that comes with a loss, Arizona’s competition was also filled with plenty of highs, as the GymCats posted a season-high 196.325 points against Utah and saw a plethora of season and career highs all across their roster. The week prior, against UCLA, Arizona also posted what was then a season high of 195.750 points.

While Arizona had a lackluster showing in the balance beam against Utah, posting a season low in the event with a score of 48.525, the squad had an excellent showing in the vault, bars and floor events. On the floor, specifically, the GymCats put on one of the best collective performances in school history with a score of 49.425, the highest score since the program’s score of 49.475 in 2002.

With another ranked opponent on the docket, notching that first win of the season won’t get any easier for the Bears, but they’ll have the benefit of finally performing in familiar territory. Last season, Cal’s only home loss came against then-No. 1 Oklahoma.

Justice delos Santos is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jdelossantos510