Feb. 21, 2003

Norman, Okla. - The No. 13 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team defeated the No. 23 Missouri Tigers, 195.350-194.150, Friday evening at the Lloyd Noble Center. OU trailed going into the final rotation but posted its highest score of the season on the floor exercise to pull out the victory. Oklahoma improves to 6-6 on the season, while Missouri drops to 7-5.

"We had some difficulty on floor early in the season and floor is now our strongest event," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "We hit on three events tonight. Unfortunately, we really struggled on beam. Vaulting was exceptional for us tonight. Bars, floor and vault have really come along. I don't have a rally monkey yet... but this makes two consecutive meets that we have pulled out in the final rotation. I am very proud of the tenacity of this squad and the way they pulled together as a unit."

Senior Patricia Aoki took the all-around title, despite an uncharacteristic fall on beam, with a 39.00. Aoki snagged a first place finish on vault with a score of 9.925, which ties a career-high. Aoki set another career best on floor, scoring a 9.925 again. The senior co-captain has set 13 career-high scores in the last six meets.

"Patricia has been exception in every meet," said Nunno. "She had a mistake on beam but her routine was exceptional besides that error. She is the leader of this team, everyone feeds off of her strength."

Freshman Meredith Fricke tumbled a near perfect floor routine and notched a career-high and team meet-high score of 9.950 for first on the event. Fellow rookies Katie Hostler and Aoki tied for second with 9.925's. Freshman Melissa Smith scored a Sooner-high of 9.850 on the balance beam and finished third.

Despite being pulled off the vault and beam at the last minute, Kasie Tamayo managed to collect a 9.900 on the bars and the top score on the event. Leah Mueller competed for the first time this season and ended up in second place behind Tamayo with a bars score of 9.875. Aoki finished third on bars with a 9.850.

"Leah Mueller came in on bars after her injury and nailed her first competitive routine this season," said Nunno. "Kristen Cox also debuted and scored one of our best vault scores. Our team score was lower tonight but we progressed on three event. I think by the end of the regular season, we'll be ready to make a run at the Big 12 Championship."

OU has won nine straight home meets and is yet to lose in Norman under Coach Nunno.

The Sooners travel to Ames, Iowa, for a crucial Big 12 dual with the Iowa State Cyclones, Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. inside the Hilton Coliseum.