March 16, 2003
NORMAN, Okla. - Fourteenth-ranked Oklahoma upset top-ranked UCLA to claim the team title at the UCLA Invitational in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners, who scored 197.475, hit 24-for-24 routines and had no scores lower than 9.775. UCLA finished in second place with a 196.725, followed by North Carolina (193.75) and Rhode Island (189.825). OU improved to 13-6, has won seven straight meets and is 12-1 since finishing sixth in the season-opening Super Six Challenge.
"We hit on every routine," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "That put us in the the position to win. UCLA is one of the deepest teams in the country, with five former Olympic team members. We were at our best."
Oklahoma established the lead from the get-go and never wavered. The Sooners started the meet by scoring 49.375 on floor, with Christy Gerard posting a 9.925. On vault, they added a 49.25 with a pair of 9.925s from Gerard and Nicole Gause. Oklahoma had three 9.9+ scores on bars, led by Kasie Tamayo's 9.95, to earn a 49.425, and the Sooners closed out the victory by posting a 49.425 on beam with six 9.825+ scores, including Allison Landis' meet-winning 9.925.
When we started this road trip we knew that no one could defeat us if we took care of business," said Nunno. "We have taken care of ourselves and the results are showing. We have found our balance, we know our strengths and we continue to play to those. We have a great back up. The team is motivated and are really on a high right now. They want the Big 12 Championship and feel like they are the best team in the conference."
Oklahoma becomes the first team in 34 tries to beat UCLA at home. The Bruins had not lost a home meet since dropping a dual meet to Georgia in 1999.
"Nicole Gause really stood out," said Nunno. "She started the meet off for us and set the pace for the night. She scored a 9.85 and we knew something special was at hand. She was also huge on vault. She ignited this team today."