March 7, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. -- Hitting all 24 routines, the No. 10 University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad posted a season high team score of 196.750 in defeating the 11th-ranked Auburn Tigers (195.900) on Friday at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Remaining undefeated on the year (16-0), OU claimed the top two spots in the all-around standings with Kiara Redmond-Sturms winning her Big 12-leading eighth title in ten events, highlighted by 9.95s on vault and floor. Her all-around score of 39.625 was just 0.075 of a point off of the program record. Haley DeProspero finished runner-up after a season-high 39.350.
"We came out with our game faces today," said head coach K.J. Kindler. "We knew this was going to be our toughest meet of the year so far, going against a very strong Auburn squad that was coming off a season high and we hit 24 out of 24 routines which we hadn't done yet this year."
OU swept all four event titles on Friday, claiming the top spot in the individual standings on every apparatus as well. It marked the second straight meet the Sooners had accomplished the feat.
With its 16th-straight victory to start the season, OU added another win to its program-best record to start a season. The Sooners have won 29 of the last 30 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007.
The Sooners started strong on vault, posting a season-high 49.325, with sophomore Jackie Flanery and junior Haley DeProspero posting 9.85s from the opening spots. Flanery's score tied a career best while DeProspero's set a season high. Jessica Kinder posted a 9.825 from the third spot before Natalie Ratcliff's 9.7. Rounding out the OU vault rotation were Mary Mantle and Redmond-Sturms who recorded scores of 9.85 and 9.95, respectively.
With the season high team score, Oklahoma led 49.325-48.875 after the first rotation.
Mary Mantle led off with a 9.775 on bars as Caitlin Hinkis posted a 9.7. Haley DeProspero followed with a 9.75 before Big 12 Event Specialist off the week Hollie Vise scored a 9.825. Seniors Stephanie LoPiccolo and Redmond-Sturms closed the rotation with scores of 9.75 and 9.875, respectively.
OU's team score of 48.975 on bars capped off its second event title of the night, as the Sooners led 98.300-98.025 at the midway point.
Posting its highest beam score since Jan. 18 of this season (49.125), OU led 147.425-147.175 through three rotations. Kinder notched a 9.775 on beam as five-time All-American Redmond-Sturms carded a 9.85. Kristin Smith posted a 9.8 from the third spot marking her highest home beam score of the year. Oklahoma closed with scores of 9.725, 9.825 and 9.875 from LoPiccolo, Vise and DeProspero.
"That was a remarkable score for Kiwi (Redmond-Sturms) tonight with the way she put everything together," said Kindler. "I think all our seniors came out and performed well. They were fired up and came in and set the tone for the entire night. It was the kind of enthusiasm I need to see from this team for the rest of the year."
On floor, Kristin Smith led off with a 9.775 before Jessica Kinder's 9.825. Mary Mantle posted a career-high 9.8 in the third position as Haley DeProspero's 9.875 eclipsed her second season best of the night. Flanery's 9.875 on floor tied her career high, as Redmond-Sturms clinched the Sooner win and all-around title with a 9.95.
"It's huge to get off to the kind of start we did on vault," said Kindler. "The vault team is getting into their groove and did a great job tonight on landing's." Floor has been a great event for us all year and that was sandwiched between two of our stronger performances on bars and beam. We are very excited with the way they performed tonight."
OU hits the road for two consecutive weeks before returning home for back-to-back postseason competitions. The Sooners square off with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., at 2 p.m. on March 15, before travelling to Minneapolis, Minn., for a match-up with the Golden Gophers of Minnesota on March 22.
"Arkansas is going to be a battle," added Kindler. "We are going into someone else's turf, with them ranked very high. We highly respect their program and are going to have to come out like we did tonight if we want to prevail."
The Sooners host both the Big 12 Championship (March 29) and NCAA South Central Regional (April 12) at the Lloyd Noble Center. For tickets, please call (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at (800) 456-GoOU or stop by the OU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the plaza level of the Asp Avenue Parking Facility, immediately west of the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the event at the Lloyd Noble Center box office.
Visit www.SoonerSports.com for more information on the OU gymnastics squad as the team continues its march towards the NCAA Championships.