March 13, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The No. 10 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad posted a 196.525 team tally en route to a second-place finish at No. 4 Alabama (196.725) on Friday night inside Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Sooners (10-4) put a scare to the 8,746 hometown fans in the Crimson Tide’s Senior Night festivities, as Alabama needed to average a 9.9 from its last two gymnasts on floor for a Tide victory.
Alabama’s Ashley Priess (9.925) and Morgan Dennis (9.975) came through with the needed routines, as the Tide closed the regular season at 8-5.
No. 26 UNC (16-10) finished third with a team tally of (193.225).
Ultimately, two stumbles on beam for the Sooners proved the difference maker in their regular season finale, as OU won event titles on bars and beam and a share of the individual event title on bars (Megan Ferguson – 9.9).
“We opened with our best bars set of the year and I’m really excited how we came out and stuck our dismounts, something we have been working on all season,” said OU head coach K.J. Kindler. “Floor and vault were phenomenal as well, certainly some of our better scores of the year on those events, but in the end we can’t come in and make mistakes like that and beat the No. 4 team in the country.”
“Beam was disappointing as it was simply focus issues and we certainly are a better beam team than we showed tonight,” added Kindler. “We have to clean up those details as we turn our attention to the postseason.”
Opening the tri-meet on bars, the Sooners posted a 49.250 team tally, matching their season high on the apparatus from a week ago. OU closed with five straight scores of 9.8 or better, capped off by a career-high 9.9 from Ferguson from the fifth position. The score resulted in Ferguson’s second bars title of the season, as the Olathe, Kan., freshman shared top honors with a pair of Alabama gymnasts. Melanie Root (9.825), Jessica Kinder (9.85) and Ashley Jackson (9.8) all preceded Ferguson’s routine, as Hollie Vise closed the Oklahoma rotation with a 9.875.
The Sooners were second after the first event, as Alabama scored a season-high 49.450 on vault, led by Kayla Hoffman’s 9.95. UNC posted a beam tally of 47.675 in its first rotation.
Oklahoma had a pair of stumbles on beam, resulting in a score of 48.725. Haley DeProspero and Ferguson scored a pair of 9.85s to lead the Sooners on the apparatus, while Ratcliff posted a 9.8.
Oklahoma entered the third rotation trailing the Crimson Tide 98.650-97.975, as Alabama was led by Hoffman (9.9) and Ashley Priess (9.9).
OU rebounded in a big way on floor, scoring a team tally of 49.275 to cut the Alabama lead to just 0.050 through three rotations. Sara Stone blistered her previous career best with a 9.825 from the second position. DeProspero followed with a 9.8, before a 9.875 from Kinder in her highest scoring routine since Jan. 26. Jackson matched Kinder’s 9.875 before Oklahoma closed with a career-high-tying 9.9 from Kristin Smith.
The Tide counted two falls on beam, posting a 48.650 on the apparatus behind a 9.875 from Ricki Lebegern.
Oklahoma took its first lead of the night on vault (49.275), scoring no routine lower than a 9.8. DeProspero and Kinder opened with a pair of 9.8s, before the Sooners reeled off routines of 9.85 (Ratcliff), a career-high 9.9 from Root, 9.875 (Jackson) and a 9.85 (Stone).
OU opens to postseason in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, March 21, at the Big 12 Championships. The Sooners are the reigning champions of the event and travel to Iowa as the highest ranked squad in the conference in 2009.