Feb. 1, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 6 OU women's gymnastics squad bested Big 12 rival and 12th-ranked Nebraska 195.275-194.950 on Friday night in Oklahoma's home opener. Leading the charge was Ashley Jackson who bested co-Big 12 Gymnast of the Year Emily Parsons 39.275-39.250 for the all-around title in front of 1,238 fans at the Lloyd Noble Center.
It was the first career all-around title for the Hudsonville, Mich., native as the junior bested her previous best all-around score by .4.
"I thought Ashley was fantastic in tonight's competition," said head coach K.J. Kindler. "Unveiling a brand new vault and sticking it on her way to matching many of her season bests, she really stepped up for us and we needed it."
Leading the night off on vault, Jackson posted a season-high 9.825 in unveiling a new vault in the opening position. Haley DeProspero scored a 9.725, Jackie Flanery followed with a 9.65 and Mary Mantle posted a 9.775. OU rounded out the event with scores of 9.8 and 9.9 from Natalie Ratcliff and Kiara Redmond-Sturms, respectively. Ratcliff's score tied a career high for the freshman while Redmond-Sturms tied a season best.
Moving to bars, the Sooners were forced to count a fall in a team score of 48.575, after OU got off to a promising start on the apparatus. Jackson and Flanery posted matching 9.825s in setting or tying career highs. DeProspero scored a 9.8 before back-to-back falls by Stephanie LoPiccolo and Hollie Vise forced Oklahoma to count a 9.275. Redmond-Sturms still clinched the event win for the Sooners, scoring a 9.85 in the anchor spot, which won the event title for the All-American from Los Angeles, Calif.
The Sooners led 97.600-96.850 at the midway point of the contest, despite losing their first event of the year, as the Cornhuskers took the vault title 49.075-49.025.
On beam, Oklahoma was forced to count its second fall of the night as the Sooners posted an event total of 48.35. After a Smith fall in the opening spot, the Sooners rebounded with scores of 9.725 and a trio of 9.8s from Jackson, LoPiccolo, Vise and DeProspero, respectively. In the anchor spot, Redmond-Sturms scored a 9.225 after a fall.
Nebraska closed the gap, but Oklahoma still remained on top after three rotations 145.950-145.725.
Ending the night on floor, the Sooners closed with a 49.325, led by Redmond-Sturms' event-winning score of 9.925. OU did not count a score lower than 9.8, as the Sooners stuck all six routines. Jessica Kinder (9.85) and Jackson (9.9) both tied career highs.
"Luckily we came out and put together one of our better vault performances of the season, or the night could have been much different," added Kindler. "I thought the way we closed on floor though was vital and we will get back to our preparations of improving each week. I want to thank the enthusiastic fans that came out tonight as I thought we had a tremendous crowd."
Nebraska tied a season high on beam in the final rotation (49.225), but it was not enough to best the Sooners, who have won 22 of their last 23 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007. Winners of all regular season meets on the year, the Sooners last regular season defeat was to Stanford on March 9, 2007 in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Sooners hit the road for the fifth time in six meets as OU travels to Denver, Colo, on Feb. 9, to face DU. The meet against the Pioneers is slated for a 7 p.m. (CST) start.