March 10, 2011

 
 

 Date

 Friday, March 11, 2011 at 7 p.m.
 Matchup  Oklahoma vs. Michigan State
 Location  Lloyd Noble Center
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office
 Webcast  Live Video in All-Access
 Internet  Live Scoring
 Meet Notes  Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. - The fourth-ranked Oklahoma women's gymnastics team looks to clinch its third undefeated regular season in four years as the Sooners host Michigan State on Friday, March 11 at 7 p.m., at the Lloyd Noble Center for OU's final regular season matchup of 2011.

Oklahoma (14-0, 3-0 Big 12) became the only undefeated team in the country last weekend with its first place finish at last Friday's quad meet as previously-unbeaten No. 3 Stanford lost to Oregon State.

The Sooners also own the nation's longest regular-season win streak at 28.

The Sooners are 5-0 all-time against Michigan State. OU won the last meeting, 196.825-194.125, on Feb. 24, 2010, in East Lansing. Sara Stone scored OU's only perfect 10 of 2010 on vault in the win over the Spartans.

OU will honor Natalie Ratcliff and Melanie Root following the meet with Michigan State in a special ceremony after the seniors' final regular season meet at the Lloyd Noble Center.

ON THE WEB:
A live webcast of Friday's meet can be found online on Oklahoma All-Access, SoonerSports.com's premium site. Live scoring will also be available on SoonerSports.com during the meet. Follow the links on the side of this page for live web coverage.

TICKETS:
For tickets, call (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be purchased at the main ticket office in Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium or at the Lloyd Noble Center on the day of the meet.

PROMOTIONS:
Friday is Senior Night at OU gymnastics. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free "Thank You Seniors" 10-card, while everyone in attendance will have a chance to win an Apple TV and an iPod shuffle. The Sooners will honor seniors Natalie Ratcliff and Melanie Root in a special ceremony following the meet.

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MEET NOTES

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
The Sooners became the only remaining undefeated team in the NCAA last weekend as OU finished first in its quad meet with No. 17 Illinois, No. 13 Illinois and TWU. Previously-unbeaten No. 3 Stanford lost to Oregon State last Saturday, leaving OU as the lone unbeaten team.

THE 2011 SENIORS
Seniors Natalie Ratcliff and Melanie Root will compete in their last regular season competition at the Lloyd Noble Center Friday. In their four years at OU, the 2011 senior class has undoubtedly made a mark on the program. In the past four years, Ratcliff and Root have helped the team go 86-25-1 overall and 52-4 in the regular season. The senior duo has been a part of three Big 12 Championships, three NCAA Championship appearances and the program's first ever Super Six .

REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
The Sooners finished the 2010 regular season undefeated (the only team to do so) and have won collected 14 wins in 2011, bringing its current nation-leading regular-win streak to 28 victories. OU's last regular-season loss was to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13, 2009. Oklahoma is 66-6 in the regular season under Kindler. If the Sooners finish the 2011 season undefeated, they will have had three perfect regular seasons in the last four years.

BALANCED ATTACK
Oklahoma has 10 gymnasts ranked in the top 25 over all four events. Sara Stone is ranked No. 8 on vault while Natasha Kelley is No. 18. Kelley is also ranked on bars at No. 9 while Megan Ferguson is No. 20. Ferguson is also No. 3 on beam while Kelley is No. 9 and Taylor Spears is No. 14. Nowak is No. 9 on floor, while Stone is No. 15 and Ferguson is No. 19. The Sooners are ranked in the top 10 on all four events as a team, OU is No. 8 on vault, No. 9 on bars, No. 2 on beam and No. 4 on floor.

BEAM QUEENS
Oklahoma remains ranked No. 2 on beam this week after scoring a 49.000 or higher for the ninth time this season in OU's quad meet. An OU gymnast has scored a 9.9 or higher on beam nine times this season, including a 9.95 from freshman Madison Mooring against TWU on Jan. 23. OU has three individuals ranked in the top 15 on the event, Megan Ferguson is No. 3, Natasha Kelley is No. 9 and Taylor Spears is No. 14. The three Sooners are also the top three competitors on beam in the Big 12, while Kayla Nowak is ranked No. 5 in the conference.

197 AND COUNTING

Oklahoma became one of just three teams in the NCAA to break 197 twice this season with its 197.025-showing last weekend against No. 17 Illinois, No. 13 Ohio State and TWU. OU was the first team to do so on the road, en route to its 197.225-195.375 victory over Iowa State on Feb. 11.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 36-2 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 69 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.

FIRST (AND SECOND) TIME'S THE CHARM
Sophomore Kayla Nowak competed in the all-arounder for the second-straight week for just the second time this season in OU's quad meet. Nowak scored a 39.275 to win her first all-around title. Nowak scored a career-high 39.375, the week prior against Michigan finishing in second place by just .025 behind then-No. 1 ranked all-arounder, Michigan's Kylee Botterman who posted a 39.400. With her the 39.375 and 39.275, Nowak is averaging a 39.325 which is the country's sixth-best average in the all-around.

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 was the first 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 in eight of her nine beam routines this season, is currently ranked No. 14 on the apparatus and is the highest-ranked freshman in the Big 12 on beam.

ROAD WARRIORS
Six of OU's eight 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. 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 36-5 on the road during the regular season under head coach K.J. Kindler.

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 105-36-2 overall under Kindler, 33-2 at home, 36-5 on the road and 66-6 in the regular season.

CONFERENCE CALL
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 individuals on both beam and bars. Eight times this season, an OU gymnast has earned Big 12 weekly honors. OU has 11 gymnasts ranked in the top 5 over all four events. Natasha Kelley is No. 1 on bars, No. 2 on beam and No. 3 on vault. Megan Ferguson is No. 1 on beam, No. 2 on bars and No. 4 on floor. Sara Stone is No. 2 on vault and No. 3 on floor while Kayla Nowak is No. 2 on floor and No. 5 on beam.

DAZZLING DEBUTS
For the tenth-straight meet, OU had at least one freshman compete on all four events. Sixty-five of OU's routines this season have been performed by freshmen. Taylor Spears is currently ranked No. 14 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. Hope Bruce set a career-high on beam at Michigan in just her second appearance in the beam lineup with a 9.875.

TOP-NOTCH SCHEDULING
The Sooners face nine teams currently ranked in the preseason top 25, including three top 10 teams and five programs that competed at the 2010 NCAA Championships.

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.