Jan. 11, 2008
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- The No. 8 OU women's gymnastics team bested Central Michigan University 195.125-188.600 Friday night in front of 1,023 fans inside Rose Arena on the Mount Pleasant, Mich., campus. Highlighted by six individual career high's, the Sooners won all four event titles as Kiara Redmond-Sturms recorded her second-straight all-around title with a 38.750 finish.
With the win, OU improved to 14-1 in its last 15 regular-season matchups, dating back to Jan 19, 2006. Nine of Oklahoma's victories during the streak have come on the road for the Sooners.
Starting the night on the uneven bars, the Sooners (4-0) stuck their final five routines, recording a team score of 48.850 that propelled Oklahoma to a full one point-plus cushion after the first rotation. Returning to her home state for the first time in collegiate competition, Hudsonville, Mich., native Ashley Jackson got the Sooners started on the right track on bars, recording a career-high 9.75. Haley DeProspero matched Jackson's score while Sophomore Hollie Vise followed with a 9.675 in the fourth position in her first collegiate bars competition. All-American's Stephanie LoPiccolo and Kiara Redmond-Sturms capped of the event title for OU with respective scores of 9.825 and 9.850.
"It is very difficult to rally after having a fall in the first position," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "The way the team stayed focused is a testament to the mental and physical preparations that they showed tonight."
With bars as an early indication, the Sooners backed up why they were the team to beat on the night during the second rotation. OU increased its lead after a vault score of 49.075 in which the Sooners threw out a score (9.775) that was higher than any of the Central Michigan gymnasts on the apparatus. OU received 9.775s from Jackson and freshman Melanie Root which marked a career high for Root. Mary Mantle, Jackie Flanery and Natalie Ratcliff (who was making her collegiate debut) followed suit with a trio of 9.8s. The Sooners capped off the rotation with Redmond-Sturms recording a season-best 9.9.
On the floor, Root carded a 9.6 and Flanery's 9.85 set a career high while Redmond-Sturms (9.925) tied matched her career best. The Sooners received a 9.8 from Kristin Smith and a 9.7 from DeProspero to clinch the event title for OU.
"I thought we showed tremendous improvement on bars, vault and floor this week even though we counted a fall (bars)," Kindler added. "The routines we did count were sharper and that's a good sign that our hard work in the gym this week paid off."
Oklahoma moved to the beam in its final rotation with a 147.075-142.875 lead. The Sooners were led by DeProspero and Smith who posted respective scores of 9.825 and 9.8. Hollie Vise posted a 9.7 in the fourth spot.
"Our beam score was a polar opposite from last week which is frustrating because they have shown that they are capable of much better routines, but their focus has to be there every event," Kindler said. "Looking forward, if we can put together four solid scores on each event like I know they are able to, we will be in a good position."
The Sooners have bested the Chippewas in the last two head-to-head meetings and lead the all-time series match-up 2-1.
Oklahoma continues its four-meet road trip to start the 2008 season in Denton, Texas on Jan. 19, facing Texas Woman's University. Competition with the Pioneers is slated for 7 p.m. (CST), with live scoring avaiable at www.SoonerSports.com.