NORMAN, Okla. Fans from the Tulsa metro area have their best chance to see the University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team live in action as they take on the LSU Tigers on Friday, March 11, at 7 p.m. at the John Q. Hammons Arena (6836 S. Mingo Road).
The Sooners, ranked No. 9 in today’s GymInfo National Rankings, will face fierce competition from the No. 4 LSU Tigers.
“We welcome the challenge the Tigers will bring us,” head coach Steve Nunno said. “They have been a surprise team this season and will be a really good opponent for us to face going into the postseason. I think our two teams match up extremely well.”
And that’s not just coach speak. OU and LSU have both claimed victories against No. 8 Georgia at home and No. 22 Auburn and then-ranked Ohio State on the road. The Sooners’ regional qualifying score is less than half a point less than the Tigers.
“It will be fun to watch,” Nunno continued. “This will be a great competition of teams and individuals.”
Oklahoma is in the midst of its best season in two decades as they own a 13-2 record and their highest ranking ever at this point in the season.
The Tigers are led by the nation’s No. 25 all-arounder April Brookholder. Oklahoma is led by No. 7 Ashley Cooney and Bartlesville native Erin LaBarr, who is ranked No. 15.
“We rely on four experienced all-arounders to carry us, while LSU builds its strength on individuals who specialize in each event,” Nunno continued. “It should be a very compelling match.”
It will also be a banner day for local education as the event celebrated Tulsa Elementary School Day. The school with the largest percentage attendance will receive a new computer.
“It’s a great chance to really show our support for our fans that do not get to see us as often as they would like,” Nunno said.
The OU gymnastics team will hold an autograph session immediately following the competition.
Tickets for the event can be purchased on-line at www.StarTicketsPlus.com, by calling 1-800-585-3737 or by visiting any metro Albertson’s location. Children under 12 are free with a paid adult.
TEXAS WOMAN'S RECAP
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team wrapped up a perfect season at home, defeating Texas Woman’s University 196.325-191.425 Saturday night.
Brittney Koncak captured the all-around title with a total score of 39.425. The McQueeney, Texas, native scored a career-high 9.9 on vault and won the beam competition with a 9.85.
On Senior Night, the Sooners celebrated the career of team co-captain LaBarr who, while not having a perfect night, provided some fireworks for the crowd.
LaBarr’s inauspicious start began with a fall on vault that dropped her score to 9.275, her lowest this season. However, she finished the night with a 9.85 on bars, 9.7 on beam and a spectacular floor routine where she was rewarded with a 9.95 from both judges. The victories on bars and floor were her 13th and 14th individual titles of the season.
The night will not be the last for LaBarr inside the Lloyd Noble Center, as the Sooners host the Big 12 Conference Championships on March 26.
Tiffany Willin won vault with a score of 9.925, a career best.
Freshman Coral Borda also had a breakout performance. The Brazilian, performing on all four apparatuses for the first time in her career, set three career highs a 9.825 on vault, 9.775 on beam and 9.8 on floor. Borda also peformed a 9.8 routine on beam, clinching second place in the all-around with a 39.200 total.
Freshmen Jessica Kinder and Jenny Baker also took the stage at the final regular-season home meet. Kinder competed on vault and floor, scoring 9.65 and a career-high 9.85, respectively. Baker, celebrating her 19th birthday, performed her first competitive collegiate floor routine, scoring a 9.825.\
A DARK HORSE SHINING
After becoming OU’s first All-American, along with senior Erin LaBarr and former Sooner Kasie Tamayo, in 15 years, Tiffany Willin sophomore campaign started with the classic slump.
The Cape Coral, Fla., native, however, has emerged as a serious contender for the honor again.
Willin claimed victory on vault in the Sooners’ most recent matchup against Texas Woman’s University of March 5. The sophomore scored a career-high 9.925, besting her previous best 2005 score by 0.05 points.
Willin, known as someone who can step up with spectacular routine’s in the biggest meets, proved once again the depth of the Sooner squad as they competed without their best all-arounder, Ashley Cooney, and scored one of its highest team scores of the season with a 196.325.
As their first postseason competitions approach, OU’s freshmen are producing the results needed for the Sooners to defend their Big 12 Championship title.
Last week, Coral Borda performed her first all-around, placing second with a 39.200. The Brazilian scored three career highs a 9.825 on vault, 9.775 on bars and a 9.8 on floor en route to her first trip to the all-around podium. She also scored a 9.8 on beam and owns a career high of 9.875 on the apparatus.
Australia’s Stephanie LoPiccolo also tallied an extra tenth on her bars score against TWU, giving her a new career best of 9.775. The Melbourne native has also performed on beam at every meet this season and scores consistently in the 9.75-plus range.
When Ashley Cooney sprained her ankle against Iowa State, Caitlin Hinkis was thrown into the fire. The bars specialist was tabbed to replace Cooney on beam. She did not disappoint, scoring a 9.875 on her first competitive collegiate routine on the apparatus. Her performance placed her in a four-way tie for second place with LoPiccolo and two Cyclones.
Jessica Kinder has seen spot action in vault and floor competitions throughout the season. The Kansas City, Mo., native has performed five vaults with a high of 9.75 and four floor routines with her best effort coming March 5 against TWU, a 9.85. In fact, Kinder has not scored below 9.75 on any of her floor routines.
Norman’s own Jenny Baker performed her first collegiate routine in the Sooners’ last meet against TWU. The hometown girl’s performance on floor was rewarded with a 9.825 score.
GYMINFO NATIONAL RANKINGS
Week No. 9: March 7
1. Utah 196.8
2. Nebraska 196.72
3. Alabama 196.67
4. LSU 196.66
5. UCLA 196.61
6. Florida 196.605
7. Michigan 196.54
8. Georgia 196.355
9. Oklahoma 196.07
10. Iowa State 195.84
11. Oregon State 195.48
12. Central Michigan 195.265
13. Penn State 195.115
14. Denver 195.085
15. Arkansas 195.075
16. Brigham Young 195.055
17. Kentucky 194.765
18. Kent State 194.705
19. Minnesota 194.655
20. Southern Utah 194.57
21. Arizona 194.54
22. Auburn 194.51
23. North Carolina State 194.34
24. Stanford 194.29
25. Utah State 194.28