March 13, 2003
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The No.14 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team is on a roll, winning five straight and improving its score in the last three meets. The regular season closes with a couple road blocks for the streaking Sooners, the first being No. 18 Arizona, whom the Sooners face inside the McKale Center, Friday at 7p.m. (PST). OU defeated Arizona in Norman last season, 196.700-195.500.
"Arizona has always been a good team at home," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "Simply by being in the Pac 10 they have to compete against some of the best teams in the country. We are expecting a good fight. Our team is really coming into its own. We have put ourselves in the best possible position to knock off a couple very talented teams."
If the Sooners are able to extend their win steak to six at Arizona, it would tie the longest streak under Nunno. OU ranks higher than Arizona on every event by a narrow margin. Within the regional rankings OU is at No. 3 or No. 4 on the four events and Arizona is one spot lower in every category.
Last weekend against Texas Women's University and Centenary, the Sooners posted a school record of 197.525. The score was higher than weekend tallies posted by OU's next three opponents, which includes No.1 UCLA.
"The team has forgotten about last weekend," said Nunno. "They have had no problem refocusing in practice and are in search of a larger goal. This is our biggest road trip of the season. We have great team and they finally starting to believe that they are in the midst of something special. We have a head of steam behind us as we venture west."
The Sooners will need to make a quick turnaround after the Arizona meet, as the top-ranked UCLA Bruins await. OU will also compete against Rhode Island and North Carolina in the UCLA Invitational, Sunday at 2 p.m. (PST).
For more information on OU women's gymnastics, visit www.soonersports.com.
OU's sixth-place finish in the season opening Super Six Challenge put the team in a hole record wise. One meet put the Sooners as 0-5 and it wasn't until the eighth meet that OU finally moved above .500. On the other hand OU is 8-1 since the Super Six with four consecutive victories over ranked opponents during that span. While the Big 12 does not keep regular season standings, the Sooners would be sitting in second place.
HOME MAT ADVANTAGE
When Head Coach Steve Nunno entered the collegiate ranks he saw the lofty home winning streaks that Utah, UCLA and Georgia have had over the years and knew that the Sooners needed to join that group. During his two years at the OU helm, the Sooners have been perfect in Norman. The streak, while short of Utah's 23-year run which ended this season, currently stands at ten straight meets. Since Nunno became co-head coach in 2001, the Sooners have not lost a regular season home meet.
Karina Agafonova - Floor specialist is one of OU's most consistent gymnasts.
Tara Anderson - Posted 9.800 on bars last weekend, her highest score in four meets.
Patricia Aoki - Of her 35 performances this season, only nine have garnered below 9.800.
Kristin Cox - Posted her lowest vault score of the season (9.775) in the last meet.
Meredith Fricke - Tied the school floor record again with 9.950, until Patricia Aoki hit a perfect 10 in the next routine.
Nicole Gause - Set career-high with 9.875 on floor in the last meet.
Christy Gerard - Senior set career-high of 9.925 on floor during Senior Night.
Kelly Haggerty - Freshman has placed on beam in six of eight meets.
Katie Hostler - Freshman racked up second and third place finishes in last meet.
Erin LaBarr - Did not compete last weekend for the first time this season.
Allison Landis - Finally received perfect 10 last weekend, after nearly reaching mark in two previous meets.
Leah Mueller - Senior will likely end her career as a bars specialist.
Melissa Smith - Hasn't scored below 9.800 in last four meets.
Kasie Tamayo - Junior is finally healthy and should compete in all-around in the next few meets.
LAST TIME OUT
A pair of 10's came up aces for Oklahoma's women's gymnastics team, Friday, night at the Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners scored a school record 197.525 points to easily dispatch Centenary (189.850) and Texas Women's University (189.650).
Oklahoma entered the meet ranked No. 15 in the nation. The Sooners improved to 8-6 in winning their fifth consecutive meet. It was the 10th straight home win for OU.
Allison Landis scored the first 10 in school history on the uneven parallel bars, then senior captain Patricia Aoki, competing in her final home meet, posted a 10 on the floor, also an OU first. It was the first career 10 for both gymnasts.
"We didn't miss a lick tonight," said head coach Steve Nunno. "I knew our team was on. We're healthy, our lineup is set and we're just very fluid. It was a special night."
And the 10's set the pace.
"Allison has impeccable form and the only thing the judges could look for was angles," Nunno said. "She was great with those too then she stuck the dismount.
"Patricia was set up when Meredith Fricke had a 9.95 right in front of her. There was nowhere to go with the routine Patricia did. Her opening pass is an elite skill and she just stuck that cold. She put a cherry on top at the end and it was just a great night for someone who really deserved it."
Aoki won the all around with a score of 39.650. Centenary's Kael Meinert was second at 39.650 and Texas Women's University's Luci Romberg was next at 376.425.
Aoki also won the vault at 9.950.
Perfect 10's are a rarity in the sport of gymanstics, but four Sooners had reached the mark, including current team members Leah Mueller and Kasie Tamayo, and were cemented into the Oklahoma record books forever before OU's home finale. Senior Night (March 7) was the first time in the Sooner history that two gymnasts posted 10's in one meet. Thanks to Allison Landis (bars) and Patricia Aoki (floor), no one will ever be able to break an individual event record. In the future Sooners can only tie the marks, since all four events are now set at 10.
"Patricia (Aoki) is the best senior gymnast in the Big 12"