Feb. 17, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. - The fourth-ranked Oklahoma women's gymnastics team looks to win its third-straight Big 12 matchup as the Sooners host Missouri on Friday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma (9-0, 2-0 Big 12) became one of just three teams in the NCAA to score above a 197 this season en route to its 197.225-195.375 victory over No. 25 Iowa State last weekend in Ames. OU set three season-high event scores (bars, beam and floor) while 11 OU gymnasts set or tied career-highs against the Cyclones.
Missouri (1-7, 0-3 Big 12) enters Friday's meet after falling to No. 17 Illinois at home on Feb. 11., 195.400-195.000. The Tigers set a season-high score the week before against Nebraska with a 195.400 on Feb. 4.
OU leads the all-time series with Missouri, 49-11. The Sooners won the last meeting between the two teams on March 27, 2010, as OU won its third-straight Big 12 Championship while Mizzou finished third.
The Sooners extended their nation-leading regular-season win streak to 23 with the win over Iowa State. OU's last regular season loss was to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13, 2009.
ON THE WEB:
Friday's meet with Missouri can be seen via a live web cast with commentary from OU gymnastics All-American, Kasie Tamayo, and former women's gymnastics sports information director, Phillip Rogers, on Oklahoma All-Access, SoonerSports.com's premium site. Live scoring will also be available on SoonerSports.com during the meet. Follow the links on the side of this page for coverage.
For tickets, call (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be purchased at the main ticket office in Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium or at the Lloyd Noble Center on the day of the meet.
Friday's meet is "OU Has Heart" night in support of the American Heart Association's "Go Red" campaign. There will be $.50 hot dogs and cokes and fans will have a chance to win a new Apple TV and iPod shuffle. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free "I heart OU gymnastics" t-shirt.
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MAKING A STATEMENT
Oklahoma became one of just three teams in the NCAA to break 197 this season, and the first team to do so on the road, en route to its 197.225-195.375 victory over Iowa State on Feb. 11. The Sooners set season-highs on three events (bars, beam and floor) while 11 OU gymnasts set or tied career-highs against the Cyclones. OU posted a 49.450 on bars, just one-tenth shy of OU's all-time program record on the event (49.550 set on March 12, 2003). OU's Natasha Kelley scored a career-high 9.95 on bars and a career-high 9.925 on beam against Iowa State,
becoming one of just two gymnasts in the country to score a 9.95 on bars.
Kelley's beam score was the second-highest by a Big 12 gymnast, behind
teammate Madison Mooring (9.95 on beam at TWU).
HOME SWEET HOME
OU returns home to Norman for its first home meet in four weeks as OU hosts Missouri on Friday. 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 65 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.
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). Oklahoma is the only school currently ranked in the top 10 that does not have a gymnast ranked in the top 25 in the all-around.
Despite its lack of an all-arounder, Oklahoma has four gymnasts ranked in the top 25 over three events. Sara Stone is ranked No. 11 on vault, Megan Ferguson is No. 22 on bars, Natasha Kelley is No. 5 on beam and Taylor Spears is No. 6 on beam. The only event OU is not ranked in the top 10 on as a team is bars. The Sooners are ranked No. 11 on bars, despite counting two falls on the event during OU's quad meet on Jan. 21.
KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE
The Sooners finished the 2010 regular-season as the only undefeated team in the NCAA. In 2011 OU has won nine-straight and remains unbeaten, bringing its current regular-win streak to a nation-leading 23 victories. OU's last regular-season loss was to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13, 2009.
FEAR THE SPEARS
OU freshman Taylor Spears was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for the second-straight week and third time overall after setting career-highs on all three of her routines at Iowa State. Spears scored a 9.9 on both bars and beam and a 9.875 on floor. Spears is the only freshman in the Big 12 to score a 9.9 on bars this season and is one of just three Big 12 freshmen to score a 9.875 on floor this year (joining teammate Hayden Ward and Iowa State's Michelle Shealy). Spears is the only freshman on OU's squad to score a 9.9 on multiple events. Spears has scored a 9.8 or higher on all six of her beam routines this season, is currently ranked No. 6 on the apparatus and is the highest-ranked freshman on the event.
VAULTING TO NEW HEIGHTS
Oklahoma scored a season-high 49.350 on vault against Nebraska. The Sooners have scored a 49.100 or higher in four-straight meets and are currently ranked No. 6 on the event nationally. OU has won the team event title on vault in all six meets. Three Sooners scored a 9.9 or higher in Lincoln, Sara Stone scored a season-high 9.925, while Brie Olson and Melanie Root also added season-highs of 9.9. It was the first time this season that OU scored three 9.9s on one event.
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 103-36-2 overall under Kindler, 32-2 at home, 35-5 on the road and 64-6 in the regular season.
Oklahoma's top five scores this season have come in OU's five 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 35-5 on the road during the regular season under head coach K.J. Kindler.
OU has won the last three Big 12 titles, and looks to win its fourth-straight on March 19, 2011 in Columbia. So far this season, OU is undefeated in conference competitions and ranks at the top of the league in almost every category. The Sooners are first in the conference in team total, floor average and beam average, while Natasha Kelley is ranked No. 1 on beam in the Big 12.
Seven times this season, an OU gymnast has earned Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week or Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. Freshman Taylor Spears has earned Newcomer of the Week three times, more than any other Big 12 freshman. Freshman Madison Mooring has also won the newcomer honors while Natasha Kelley, Kayla Nowak and Sara Stone have all been named Big 12 Event Specialists of the Week.
For the seventh-straight meet, OU had at least one freshman on all four events at Iowa State. Forty-eight of OU's routines this season have been performed by freshmen. Madison Mooring has competed on three events (vault, beam and floor) in five of OU's seven meets after joining the team following her December high school graduation. Taylor Spears has competed on bars, beam and floor for the Sooners and is currently ranked No. 6 nationally on beam. Hope Bruce and Hayden Ward have both competed for OU on vault, bars and floor.
REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma is 64-6 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 23. OU has gone undefeated in the regular season twice in the past three seasons.
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.
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.