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Streaks on the Line in Lincoln
February 01, 2005

NORMAN, Okla. A pair of streaks will be on the line when the No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face the No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team Saturday. 
 

The defending Big 12 Championship Sooners are boasting an undefeated, 7-0, record their best start since 1985 when they recorded a 13-0 regular season and won the Big Eight Championship crown.

 

The Huskers have not lost a regular season meet at home since March 1, 1993 a span of 52 meets without a loss. During that time, Nebraska has amassed a record of 71-0-1 inside the Devaney Arena. And, if you count the two Big 12 Championships and one Big Eight Championship Nebraska has hosted during that streak, their record jumps to 80-0-1, easily the longest active streak of its kind.

 

The streaks only add heat to the flames of the already intense rivalry.

 

In 2004, OU ended Nebraska’s streak of three straight Big 12 titles but finished behind the Huskers at last year’s NCAA Championship qualifiers.

 

This season, Nebraska and OU are ranked ninth and tenth, respectively, with average scores separated by only 31-hundredths of a point.

 

Oklahoma is led by All-American senior Erin LaBarr and Big 12 Gymnast of the Week Ashley Cooney; Nebraska by All-American senior Richelle Simpson and sophomore Kristi Esposito. Cooney has her own streak going, with three consecutive individual all-around titles.

 

Nebraska comes into the weekend fresh off its first win of the season against conference foe Missouri, jumping 14 spots in the polls and above OU for the first time this season. Its losses have come to No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 UCLA and No. 5 Florida.

 

Oklahoma most recently defeated No. 19 Ohio State and Illinois State in Columbus, Ohio, and matched its season-high team score of 195.9.

 

The competition will feature some of the best gymnasts in the nation as the lineups are littered with top-25 ranked individuals.

 

In all-around competition, OU features eighth-ranked Brittney Koncak, No. 11 Cooney and No. 20 LaBarr. Nebraska will field No. 25 Simpson.

 

On vault, the Huskers take the advantage with No. 2 Emily Parsons and No. 14 Simpson. Oklahoma’s Cooney is ranked No. 6.

 

Uneven bars specialists include No. 8 LaBarr for the Sooners and No. 14 Desire’ Sriatynski and No. 22 Esposito for NU.

 

Simpson, at No. 6, is the lone ranked athlete on balance beam.

 

Oklahoma’s Kristen Cox, at 13th, is tied in the rankings with teammate Cooney on floor. OU’s LaBarr is also ranked in this discipline at No. 18 and Nebraska’s Parsons is ranked eighth.

 

The meet begins at 7:30 p.m. CST, Saturday, Feb. 5.

 

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