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No. 2 Ducks Rally Past Cougars to Stay Perfect
Release Date: 02/12/2011
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AZUSA, Calif. – A bout with adversity tested the No. 2 Oregon acrobatics and tumbling team’s resolve, but the Ducks passed with flying colors in a 278.474-276.042 win at Azusa Pacific on Saturday.

Wins in the basket toss and tumbling events helped UO (3-0) overcome its first deficit of the year and keep the Ducks tied with top-ranked Maryland for the best record in the country.

“Azusa Pacific made us work for this win tonight,” head coach Felecia Mulkey said. “We pulled it together enough at the end to get the win. We have some work to do before we face Baylor, but I’m happy with the win.”

Azusa Pacific put Oregon in a hole by winning the first three events of the evening. The Cougars took the compulsory event, 37.29-37.11, behind three scores of 9.65 or higher including a 9.8 in the stunt heat. APU went 9.57 or better in all three stunt heats to take that event, 28.85-28.55, before concluding the first half by edging out UO in the pyramid, 28.35-28.30. The slim event wins gave the Cougars a 94.49-93.96 lead at halftime.

Facing its first deficit of the season, Oregon came out of the locker room with a vengeance and put together its best performance of the year in the basket toss. The Ducks scored 9.67 or higher in all three heats, 9.7 or higher twice to win the event, 29.22-27.87, and take their first lead of the meet. The 29.22 total is the best basket toss score in the country.

UO took control of the dual in the tumbling event with a dominant effort. The Ducks swept all six heats to win the event, 53.74-49.94. The open heat was once again the talk of the night, with Natasha Katzaroff posting a near-perfect 9.95 to close the event. That effort is the highest score for any tumbling heat in the nation this season.

“At halftime, we knew that we could pull away in baskets and tumbling,” Mulkey said. “The team answered to trailing coming out of the locker room. When we pulled ahead after baskets, we weren’t satisfied and they wanted to extend that margin. We are a very talented tumbling squad and that helps us in the second half, but there were some unexpected scores in that event that kept things a little close. The key in the meet was Natasha’s 9.95 in the open heat.”

Oregon stumbled a bit in the team routine as Azusa Pacific gained a couple points by claiming the final event, 103.74-101.55, to end the evening. Even so, Oregon finished with its second-highest score of the year and the second-best score for any team in the country this season.

The Ducks are off of dual competition for the rest of the month, but will be perfecting their team routine at Matthew Knight Arena on Feb. 24, during halftime of Oregon’s men’s basketball game against California. Oregon’s next dual meet is against Baylor on March 7, also at Matthew Knight Arena.
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