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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 30 Penn State women's gymnastics team (1-3, 0-3 Big Ten) begins a two-meet road trip on Sunday, Feb. 4, when it heads to Michigan State (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten). The meet is slated for a 1 p.m. start inside the Jenison Field House.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 195.750-195.475 loss to then-No. 33 Illinois on Jan. 27. Against Illinois, four Nittany Lions brought home titles, including three titles from senior Briannah Tsang. On the day, Tsang won the balance beam, floor exercise, and the all-around. In addition to Tsang, Gianna LaGuardia won the vault, and Lauren Bridgens and Sabrina Garcia tied for the uneven bars title.
As a team against Illinois, Penn State tallied a season-best score of 195.475 on scores of 48.850 (vault), 49.050 (uneven bars), 48.750 (balance beam), and 48.825 (floor exercise).
In all, seven Nittany Lions set or tied season-best scores against Illinois. Along with the season-best scores, three Penn Staters set or tied career-best scores.
The meet will be streamed live on BTN2Go.com starting at 1 p.m. and it will be shown via tape delay on the Big Ten Network starting at 4 p.m. Fans can also follow along with live stats via msuspartans.com.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
The Michigan State Spartans enter the meet against Penn State with an overall record of 3-3 and a Big Ten record of 1-2.
Last weekend, the Spartans captured a quad meet victory over Eastern Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers with a season-best score of 195.525.
As a team, Michigan State recorded scores of 48.850 (vault), 48.875 (uneven bars), 48.550 (balance beam), and 49.250 (floor exercise).
For Michigan State in the quad meet victory, two Spartans tied for the vault title, three Spartans finished in the top-three on the uneven bars, had a third-place finish on the balance beam, and three Spartans tied for second on the floor exercise. In the all-around, Lea Mitchell captured the top spot with a score of 39.325.
Nationally, Michigan State ranks 43rd in scoring average (194.175), 50th in vault average (48.413), 25th in uneven bars average (48.775), 49th in balance beam average (48.081), and 30th in floor exercise average (48.906).
B1G CO-GYMNAST OF THE WEEK
Following a season-best all-around score of 39.425 against Nebraska, senior Briannah Tsang was named the Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week. Her Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor was the second of her career.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Tsang won the all-around title and floor exercise title outright in addition to tying for the uneven bars title.
On the day, Tsang tallied scores of 9.900 (floor exercise & uneven bars), 9.825 (vault), and 9.800 (balance beam) en route to a season-best all-around score of 39.425.
B1G FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Following the season opener against Eastern Michigan, Lauren Bridgens was tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
In her Penn State debut, Bridgens tied for the vault title (9.825), placed second on the uneven bars (9.800), finished fourth on the balance beam (9.700) and on the floor exercise (9.725). Bridgens closed out the day with a score of 39.050 in the all-around as she shared the all-around title with Briannah Tsang.
BROWN BEGINS FIRST YEAR AT PSU
Head coach Sarah Brown is in her first year at the helm of the Penn State women's gymnastics program. Brown was tabbed the eighth head coach in program history on May 4, 2017.
Becerra comes to Penn State after spending the 2017 season as an assistant coach under Coach Brown at Eastern Michigan.
Drass, a 1990 Penn State graduate, returns to Happy Valley with a wealth of coaching experience. Most recently, Drass served as the assistant head coach for the University of Pittsburgh women's gymnastics team from 2014-17. While at Penn State, Drass was a member of the Penn State men's gymnastics program.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team is comprised of 10 returners and four newcomers. The Nittany Lions welcome freshmen Alissa Bonsall, Lauren Bridgens, Kourtney Chinnery, and Ava Verdeflor to the program.
The Nittany Lions return a veteran laden squad in 2018. Sabrina Garcia and Briannah Tsang competed as individuals in the all-around at the 2017 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.
Along with Garcia and Tsang, Mason Hosek, Gianna LaGuardia, and Peyton Schuller return to the Nittany Lions in 2018. Prior to the start of the 2018 season, Hosek has competed in 21 of 24 meets, LaGuardia has competed in 17 of 24 meets, and Schuller has competed in 18 of 24 meets.
TSANG'S 53 TITLES
Senior Briannah Tsang has captured 39 individual titles and 14 all-around titles in her Nittany Lion career.
With four meets into the 2018 season complete, Tsang has 12 titles to her name. On the year, she has won each event twice and has captured at least a share of the all-around four times.
The Penn State women's gymnastics team opened its 2018 season with three freshmen making their Nittany Lions debut.
Bonsall opened up her Nittany Lion career with a third-place finish on the vault (9.800), a third-place finish on the uneven bars (9.775), a fifth-place finish on the balance beam (9.625), an 11th-place finish on the floor exercise (9.550), and a fourth-place finish in the all-around (38.750).
In Bridgens' Nittany Lion debut, she tied for the vault title (9.825), took second on the uneven bars (9.800), placed fourth on the balance beam (9.700), took fourth on the floor exercise (9.725), and tied for the all-around title (39.050).
Chinnery made her debut with a 9.725 on the vault to place sixth.
Against Nebraska, Verdeflor made her Nittany Lion lineup debut with a 9.250 on the uneven bars to place 10th.
Senior Briannah Tsang has captured at least a share of the all-around title in each of the first four meets of the 2018 season. In her Penn State career, Tsang has won the all-around 14 times. With her fourth-straight all-around title on Jan. 27, Tsang became the first Nittany Lion since Sharaya Musser to win four-straight all-around titles (2/23-3/16/13).
Bridgens enters her first year as a Nittany Lion after competing at Hill's Gymnastics under coaches Kelli Hill, Cynthia Smaha, and Tian Zhang. Last summer, Bridgens tallied a pair of top-10 finishes at the 2017 Junior Olympic National Championships, as she finished second on vault (9.875) and she tied for eighth on floor (9.625).
During her time at Penn State, Tsang has qualified for the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships each of the past two seasons.
At the 2017 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, she placed 30th in the all-around with a score of 39.1000, and her best finish of the evening came on the floor exercise as she tied for 18th with a 9.9000.
The 2015 Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year, Tsang has won 41 career titles, has received All-Big Ten First Team honors twice (2016 & 2017), tallied All-Big Ten Second Team honors in 2015, and was named to the 2017 Big Ten All-Championships Team.
No. 30 Penn State heads to No. 29 Ohio State on Feb. 9 to close out its two-meet road trip. The meet is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start at St. John Arena.