Feb. 28, 2003

NORMAN, Okla. - The No. 19 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team pulled out a crucial victory over No. 16 Iowa State and moved into sole possession of second place in the Big 12 Friday night at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. OU's score of 196.950 was its highest of the season and enough to hold off the Cylones who scored 196.150. OU improves to 7-6 on the season and 2-1 in Big 12 contests, while Iowa State drops to 4-6 overall and 1-2 in league.

"We were on fire," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "Winning a Big 12 road meet is very difficult. Tonight, every girl competed and turned in a great effort. They all had a sense of urgency and knew it was going to take their best effort to pull out this win. This is the first meet this season that the Sooners have been strong on every event."

Leading the way for the Sooners was senior co-captain Patricia Aoki, who finished second in the all-around with a score of 39.300. A week after freshman Meredith Fricke took a share of the school floor exercise record, Aoki put herself among elite Sooner company by scoring a 9.950 on the floor. Aoki and Fricke now share the school record with four others. Aoki's efforts landed her in a three-way tie for first on the event.

"Patricia has been our anchor all season long with her all-around performances, " said Nunno. "The team knew she was going to hit and they built on that confidence."

OU scored a season-high on vault (49.225) and floor (49.500), while all four team event scores were season-high road results.

Freshman Kelly Haggerty continued to impress by tying a career-high on beam with a 9.925 and finishing in first. Other OU top finishers were freshman Kristen Cox, tied for first on vault (9.850), and Kasie Tamayo, second on bars with a 9.900. Freshman Melissa Smith turned in a career-high on balance beam with a 9.875 and Meredith Fricke continued her stellar rookie campaign with a 9.900 and sixth place finish on floor exercise.

"We must have hit on 20 of 24 routines," said Nunno. "I think we could have beat the majority of teams in the country tonight. I am just very proud to be the head coach of this team. They are very talented and they have a lot more to give."

Oklahoma plays host to Texas Women's University and Centenary on Senior Night, Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center. OU will honor seniors Patricia Aoki, Christina Gerard and Leah Mueller following the meet. Admission to the meet is $5 for adults and $2 for children. For more information on tickets, call (800) 456-GoOU.