Feb. 25, 2011
|No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 8 Michigan|
|Date||Saturday, Feb. 26 | 3 p.m. (CT)|
|Location||Ann Arbor, Mich. | Crisler Arena|
|Online||Live Stats | Free Webcast|
NORMAN, Okla. - The third-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face No. 8 Michigan in the Sooners' last regular season road meet of 2011 on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. (CT) at Crisler Arena.
Oklahoma (10-0, 3-0 Big 12) won its third-straight Big 12 regular season meet last Friday. The Sooners topped Missouri, 196.425-195.225, in Norman with their highest score at home and their second-best score overall this year.
OU won all four event titles for the fifth time this season and took home all four individual event titles for the second-straight competition against the Tigers.
Michigan (10-3, 4-1 Big Ten) is 6-1 at home this season with its only loss coming to No. 2 Stanford on Feb. 13 in the Michigan Tri Meet. The loss snapped a near three-year winning streak at Crisler Arena dating back to March 22, 2008. The Wolverines also boast the nation's top-ranked all-arounder, Kylee Botterman, who is ranked in the top 11 on all four events.
The Wolverines lead the all-time series between the two programs, 9-2-1. Michigan won the last meeting with the Sooners, 196.000-195.525, in 2006.
The Sooners hope to build on recent road success on Saturday against the Wolverines. OU has the second-highest road average in the NCAA this season, with five of their six highest scores coming away from Norman. OU is 35-5 on the road under head coach K.J. Kindler.
ON THE WEB:
There will be a free live webcast of Saturday's meet as well as live stats on Michigan's official website, www.MGoBlue.com.
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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-10th 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).
Despite its lack of an all-arounder, Oklahoma has 13 gymnasts ranked in the top 25 over all four events. Sara Stone is ranked No. 5 on vault while Natasha Kelley is No. 12. OU has three gymnasts in the top 25 in all three of the other events. Megan Ferguson is No. 13 on bars while Kelley is No. 19 and Nowak is No. 25. Ferguson is No. 4 on beam while Kelley is No. 7 and Taylor Spears is No. 8. Nowak is No. 6 on floor, while Stone and Ferguson are tied for No. 11. The Sooners are ranked in the top six on all four events as a team, OU is No. 6 on vault, No. 5 on bars, No. 2 on beam and No. 3 on floor.
KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE
The Sooners finished the 2010 regular-season as the only undefeated team in the NCAA. In 2011 OU has won 10-straight and remains unbeaten, bringing its current regular-win streak to 24 victories. OU’s last regular-season loss was to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13, 2009.
Oklahoma moved up to No. 2 on beam this week after scoring its seventh score of 49.000 or higher on the apparatus against Missouri. An OU gymnast has scored a 9.9 or higher on beam seven times this season, including a 9.95 from freshman Madison Mooring against TWU on Jan. 23. OU has three individuals ranked in the top 10 on the event, Megan Ferguson is No. 4, Natasha Kelley is No. 7 and Taylor Spears is No. 8. The three Sooners are also the top three competitors on beam in the Big 12.
Five of OU’s six highest team scores this season have come away from Norman, including its season-high 197.225 that was set at Iowa State. The Sooners were the first team in the NCAA this season to break the 197 mark on the road. OU has the second-best road average out of the teams in the top 10, trailing just No. 1 Florida. 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.
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.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 33-2 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 66 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.
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 104-36-2 overall under Kindler, 33-2 at home, 35-5 on the road and 65-6 in the regular season.
REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma is 65-6 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 24. OU has gone undefeated in the regular season twice in the past three seasons.
Oklahoma completed its Big 12 regular season competitions undefeated with a win over Missouri on Feb. 18. OU is No. 1 in the conference on every event except vault and boasts the top three individuals on beam. 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 eighth-straight meet, OU had at least one freshman compete on all four events. Fifty-six of OU’s routines this season have been performed by freshmen. Taylor Spears is currently ranked No. 8 nationally on beam and has scored a 9.9 on both bars and beam. Madison Mooring has competed on at least two events in every meet and has performed on three events for most of the season. Mooring was the first freshman in the NCAA this season to post a 9.95 on beam. Hayden Ward has competed on bars and floor for the Sooners, Ward and Mooring both joined the team in December following their high school graduations.
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.