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No. 5 OU Opens Big 12 Competition Sunday
February 04, 2011

Feb. 4, 2011

 No. 5 Oklahoma (7-0) at No. 10 Nebraska (3-3, 2-0 Big 12)
 Date  Sunday, Feb. 6 | 2 p.m. (CT)
 Location  Lincoln, Neb. | Bob Devaney Center
 Tickets  Order Online
 Online  Live Stats | Live Webcast
 Meet Notes  Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. - The fifth-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team heads to Lincoln, Neb., as the Sooners face No. 10 Nebraska in their first Big 12 competition of the year and their fourth road meet in four weeks on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. (CT).

Oklahoma (7-0, 0-0 Big 12) is coming off a win over then-ranked No. 16 Washington in Seattle last weekend, the Sooners tied their season-high team score of 196.175 for the third time this year.

The Sooners are 33-5 on the road during the regular season under current head coach K.J. Kindler, including three-straight road wins this season. All three of OU's season-high scores this year have come on the road.

Nebraska (3-3, 2-0 Big 12) finished second at last week’s Metroplex Challenge with a season-high 195.600, behind No. 6 Alabama. Nebraska will face Missouri on Friday in Columbia, Mo., before heading home for the matchup with Oklahoma.

The Huskers lead the all-time series with OU, 60-23, but the Sooners have the last four meetings and are 8-2 against Nebraska under Kindler. The programs last met at the 2010 NCAA Championships during the afternoon qualifying session. OU finished in third to advance to the Super Six, while the Huskers finished fourth.

With seven wins this season, OU has won a nation-leading 21-straight regular season competitions.

ON THE WEB:
Live scoring and live video for Sunday's meet at Nebraska can be found at www.Huskers.com.

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MEET NOTES:
 
A FAMILIAR MATCHUP
Oklahoma and Nebraska have competed over 80 times in history. While Nebraska leads the series, 60-23, OU has won eight of the last ten meetings including the last four. The two teams last met at the 2010 NCAA Championships in the afternoon qualifying session. The Sooners placed third to advance to the Super Six with a 196.550, while Nebraska finished in fourth with a 196.175. The Sooners and Huskers finished No. 1 and No. 2 respectively at the 2010 Big 12 Championships. The two programs have won 12 of the 14 Big 12 Championships.

BEAM QUEENS
The Sooners posted a season-high 49.025 on beam at Washington, scoring above a 49.000 for the fourth-straight meet. OU is averaging a 49.025 on beam this year and are ranked No. 4 in the country on the apparatus. Freshman Madison Mooring scored a 9.95 on beam at TWU, becoming only the second gymnast and the only freshman in the NCAA this season to reach the mark on the event. Natasha Kelley also added a 9.9 on beam for the Sooners at TWU, marking the first time this season OU recorded two scores of 9.9 or higher on one event.

ROAD WARRIORS
Oklahoma’s three season-high scores of 196.175 have come in OU’s three road meets. The Sooners are no strangers to road success, OU has posted five of its seven highest scores away from Norman for three-straight seasons.The Sooners are 33-5 on the road during the regular season under head coach K.J. Kindler, as OU faces Nebraska for its fourth road competition in four weeks.

WIN NO. 100
OU improved to 6-0 on the season, with wins over No. 6 Oregon State, No. 23 Denver, Centenary and TWU the weekend of Jan. 23 With the wins, OU head coach K.J. Kindler moves to 100 victories at Oklahoma. The Sooners are 101-36-2 overall under Kindler, 32-2 at home, 33-5 on the road and 62-6 in the regular season.

 
 SOONER TO WATCH

Natasha Kelley | R-So. | VT-UB-BB
 
Kelley won the bars and beam titles at Washington after battling a stomach virus all day Thursday and Friday before the competition. Kelley scored a 9.875 on vault and a 9.85 on both bars and beam. Kelley has scored a 9.8 or higher on eleven routines overall this year and is the only Sooner to score a 9.9 on two separate events.

   

CLUTCH CLOSING
For the first time this season, Oklahoma trailed their opponent going into the final rotation on Friday, Jan. 21 at OU’s quad meet. The Sooners trailed Denver, 146.275-146.000, heading to floor but OU pulled out five scores of 9.825 or higher, including Kayla Nowak’s 9.9, to seal the quad meet victory. OU finished floor with a 49.300 event total, a season-high on any one event this season.

FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM
In her first appearance in the OU beam lineup, freshman Taylor Spears scored a 9.875 on the event against N.C. State on Jan. 14. With the score, Spears won the individual event title on the apparatus and was ranked No. 1 on the event on Jan. 17. Spears matched her career-high 9.875 on beam at TWU.

CONFERENCE CALL
For the third week in a row, an OU gymnast was recognized as the best in the Big 12 conference on Jan. 25. Freshman Madison Mooring was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after her record-breaking beam performance at TWU. Sophomore Kayla Nowak was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week while Taylor Spears was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for Jan. 18. Junior Sara Stone earned the first conference honor for the Sooners when she was Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week on Jan. 11.

RECORD-BREAKING
Despite the Sooners struggles on bars, OU set multiple team season-highs and individual highs in OU’s quad meet on Jan. 21. OU set season-highs as a team on vault (49.150) and floor (49.300), while tying its previous season-high on beam (49.025). The Sooners set season-highs on 14 routines including six career-highs (Madison Mooring - vault, beam, floor; Brie Olson - floor; Taylor Spears - floor; Sara Stone - floor).

HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 32-2 in Norman under fifth-year head coach K.J. Kindler. OU’s only two losses at home have come against SEC opponents in Alabama and Arkansas. Top-seeded Alabama knocked off the Sooners en route to the NCAA South Central Regional title in 2008, while OU’s loss to Arkansas in the 2009 home opener marked Oklahoma’s only regular season home defeat in Kindler’s tenure. Among the 66 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over then-ranked No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 4 Florida in 2010 as well as wins over Auburn, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State, Stanford and West Virginia.

DAZZLING DEBUTS
For the fifth-straight meet, OU had at least one freshman on all four events at Washington. Thirty-three of OU’s routines this season have been performed by freshmen. Madison Mooring has competed on three events (vault, beam and floor) in all of OU’s meets after joining the team just one month ago following her December high school graduation. Taylor Spears competed on two events in the season opener and three events against N.C. State and Friday’s quad meet. Spears scored a 9.875 on beam in Raleigh to win the event title, the score was the highest by an OU freshman this season.

REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma is 62-6 in the regular season under Kindler. The Sooners finished the 2010 regular season as the only undefeated team in the NCAA at 14-0 and are currently leading the nation with a regular-season win streak of 21. OU has gone undefeated in the regular season twice in the past three seasons.

A GROUP EFFORT
Oklahoma has not had an all-around competitor this season, which is nothing new for the Sooners. OU had an all-arounder just twice during OU’s record-breaking 2010 season (Kayla Nowak at Illinois and Hollie Vise vs. Washington).

TOP-NOTCH SCHEDULING
The Sooners face 10 teams currently ranked in the preseason top 25, including three top 10 teams and five programs that competed at the 2010 NCAA Championships. CollegeGymFans.com recently ranked OU at No. 10 nationally in strength of schedule.

CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA IN 2011
Oklahoma started the season ranked No. 4 nationally, the highest preseason ranking in program history. The back-to-back-to-back Big 12 Champions return nine members of the record-breaking 2010 squad, as the team looks to make its second-straight NCAA Super Six in 2011.

Headlining OU’s returnees are Megan Ferguson and Natasha Kelley. Ferguson is a two-time All-American and was named All-Big 12 on both bars and beam in 2010. Kelley was named the 2010 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 on vault and bars. The redshirt-sophomore enters the 2011 season with a career-high 9.925 on vault and 9.9 on both bars and beam.

The Sooners welcome four newcomers for the 2011 season. Hope Bruce and Taylor Spears joined the team in the summer of 2010, while Madison Mooring and Hayden Ward began training with the team in December.

IN ELITE COMPANY
Oklahoma is one of just five programs to advance to the NCAA Championships every year since 2004. OU joins Alabama, Florida, LSU and Utah on the elite list.

CHAMPIONS IN THE CLASSROOM
For the fourth-straight season, five Sooners earned National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches All-American Scholar Athlete Awards. Nitya Ramaswami finished the academic year with a 4.0 in chemical engineering, she was one of just 67 gymnasts in the country and was the only gymnast in the Big 12 to finish with a 4.0.

FOLLOW THE SOONERS
The OU gymnastics program maintains its own Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts, which are updated frequently with all of the latest news about the squad. Links to each of these pages as well as a behind-the-scenes blog can be found at www. SoonerSports.com, the official site of the Oklahoma Sooners.

 

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