OU Closes Regular Season at 'Bama

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 11, 2009

March 12, 2009

 No. 10 Oklahoma (9-3) at No. 4 Alabama (6-5) w/ North Carolina (16-8) 
 Date & Time  Friday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. CST
 Location  Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Coleman Coliseum
 Tickets  Alabama Ticket Office | (205) 348-2262
 Meet Central

 Alabama Women's Gymnastics Central 

 Live Scoring  OU vs. Alabama and UNC 
 Directions  Visitors Guide
 Official Website  UNC
 Meet Notes  Meet Notes (PDF) Sooners


NORMAN, Okla. -
Coming off of back-to-back sweeps of every event title and a share of all four individual honors in both meets, the 10th-ranked OU women's gymnastics squad closes its regular season in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a matchup with fourth-ranked Alabama and No. 26 UNC.

The Sooners (9-3) cruised to victory over TWU and Illinois State on March 6, as OU was on season-high pace at the halfway mark last Friday (98.650), posting season highs on vault (49.400) and bars (49.250).  Oklahoma senior Ashley Jackson capped off her home campaign in stellar fashion, winning her third all-around crown of the season. 

OU holds top 10 rankings on all four events, including a No. 4 spot in the NCAA on beam.  Despite counting its first fall on the apparatus this season in last week's competition, Oklahoma has broken the 49-point barrier on beam six times in 2009.  That number includes a season-high 49.525 in the second week of 2009 competition at TWU - a score that wasn't broken on the apparatus until Georgia's 49.550 against Florida on Feb. 28. 

Alabama has jumped from 11th to fourth in the RQS rankings in the past two weeks as a result of posting two of its top three season scores in the last three meets.  The Crimson Tide tallied a season-high 197.350 in a victory over in-state rival Auburn on Feb. 27, and scored a 197.150-196.775 win over then-No. 3 Stanford in Bama's last outing on March 6.

Ashley Priess leads the Crimson Tide with 12 individual titles in 2009 including the all-around crown against Stanford, while Morgan Dennis' career-high 39.725 all-around tally against Auburn was the highest score for an Alabama gymnast since 2004.

UNC is 5-1 in its last six matchups including a tri-meet win over Maryland and Temple in its last appearance on March 6 after hitting 26 of 26 routines. 

Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205) 348-2262, located in the lobby of Coleman coliseum or online at RollTide.com.

 Sooner to Watch 

Melanie Root | So. | VT-UB 
Melanie Root Root won a share of her second bars title of the season with a career-high 9.875 against TWU and Illinois State. The feat is even more impressive considering Root hadn't competed on bars prior to the 2009 season. 

The sophomore also posted a career-high-tying 9.875 on vault for a third-place finish last weekend.


• MEET INFO                           
Complete coverage of the meet will be available at www.rolltide.com.  Following the meet, a recap, photos, video highlights and official scores will be posted to www.SoonerSports.com, the official home of OU women's gymnastics.

Friday, March 13:
Oregon State @ Missouri (6:30 PM)       
West Virginia @ Iowa State (7 PM)       
Oklahoma @ Alabama (7:30 PM)
Nebraska @ Arizona State (w/ Ball State and Cal State Fullerton) (9 PM)

Sunday, March 15:
Nebraska @ UCLA (4 PM)

Oklahoma has won 40 of its last 44 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007. 

• FAMILIAR FOE                                                                                                           
Friday's meeting is the sixth between Oklahoma and Alabama in the past three seasons. The Crimson Tide and Sooners finished one-two in the South Central Regional Championships in Norman a year ago, setting up a repeat matchup in the first session of the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga., where `Bama prevailed with a 196.65 team tally to advance to the Super Six team finals.   

The squads met on three occasions in 2007, with the Sooners dropping their season opener in Tuscaloosa, before the two teams met again at both postseason events.  OU finished second to the Crimson Tide at the NCAA Central Regional in Tuscaloosa, but defeated Alabama in the first session of the NCAA Championships (196.250-196.125).

• NOT ACTING LIKE NEWCOMERS                                                                                                            
Of the 65 routines that have been competed by gymnasts making their first collegiate appearance on the respective apparatus in 2009, a remarkable 37 (.569) have gone for a 9.8 or better.  The respective group hit five of eight at that mark in OU's tri-meet victory over TWU and Illinois State. 

Freshman Megan Ferguson has tallied 15 routines at 9.8 or higher, while fellow frosh Sara Stone leads the respective
group with an average of .692 at 9.8 or higher ( 9-of-13).  

Oklahoma is the only squad in the top 10 to have both of its top two season scores come in road competition. 
• ROAD SWEET ROAD                                                                                                   
Posting a then-NCAA-best 197.175 in Denton, Texas, on Jan. 17, and a 196.800 at Iowa State on Feb. 27, it appears that the road could be kind to the Sooners again this season.  Five of OU's top seven scores (including three of the top four and a season-best-tying 196.750 at Arkansas) came outside of Norman a year ago.

The Sooners swept all four event titles and a share of every individual event honor for the second consecutive meet and third time this season (@ TWU, @Iowa State).  The Sooners swept all four team event titles seven times a year ago.

The Sooners posted season highs on vault (49.400) and bars (49.250) in their first two rotations of their last outing, on pace for a 197.300 at the halfway mark.  The number was boosted by event titles from Ashley Jackson on vault (her ninth individual title of the 2009 campaign), and a share of bars honors between teammates Melanie Root and Jessica Kinder (9.875).  Both bars routines marked career highs for the duo, who hadn't competed on the apparatus prior to this season. 

• FLOOR SENSATION                                                                                                                                   
Kristin Smith posted her latest 9.9 on floor at ISU, marking the second time this season that the Oklahoma City, Okla., junior has tied her career high on the apparatus (also scored a 9.9 on floor at TWU).  Entering the year with a personal best of 9.85 on the event, Smith has won three event crowns on the apparatus this season (@ Denver, @ ISU, TWU/ISU). 

• STICKING TO THE PLAN                                                                                                                                
Senior all-arounder Ashley Jackson posted her third 9.9-or greater vault in five meets in OU's victory on March 6 with an event-winning 9.925.  Jackson posted a 9.9 on Feb. 20 (second to Missouri's Alex Gold), while Jackson won the vault title at Nebraska (9.925) en route to the all-around title against the Huskers. 

Bars and beam specialist Hollie Vise snagged her ninth individual event crown with a 9.925 against TWU and Illinois State.   The victory comes a week after Vise won her seventh and eighth event titles of the season at ISU with a 9.825 on bars (shared event honors with teammate Melanie Root and ISU's Ceilia Maccani) and a career-high 9.95 on beam.  The Dallas, Texas., native's nine victories in 2009 overtook her total from all of last season, when she claimed seven titles on the year (four on bars, three on beam). 

• LATEST ON FLANERY                                                                                                                              
Junior gymnast Jackie Flanery will miss this week's event after injuring her right ankle in floor warmups against TWU and Illinois State.  Flanery is considered week-to-week and will be re-evaluated before next week's Big 12 Championships. The Plattsburg, Mo., native had posted 14 straight routines at 9.8 or higher  before the injury, including seven consecutive floor scores of 9.85 or greater. 

• DOMINATING THE BIG 12                                                                                                                         
The Sooners have reeled off a 13-2 record versus Big 12 opponents since the start of the 2007 schedule, including a 8-1 mark during regular season action. 

Prior to OU's loss at Nebraska earlier this season, its last regular season defeat to a conference opponent was Feb. 10, 2006 (ISU). 

Roster | Schedule | Notes | 2009 Media Guide

Oklahoma has five gymnasts with at least four individual event titles in 2009, as Hollie Vise and Ashley Jackson lead the way with nine apiece.  The Sooners are the only squad ranked in the latest top-15 GymInfo poll without a gymnast in the top-25 all-around rankings. 

Haley DeProspero stuck a season-high 9.875 on vault in winning event honors at Iowa State.  The score was her highest vault tally since posting a 9.925 as a freshman.  DeProspero also posted 9.85s on beam and floor en route to her first all-around title of the season (39.300).

• THREE'S COMPANY                                                                                                                                
Needing to post a solid score to hold off a charging Missouri squad that was hitting its vaults, OU's Kristin Smith, Jackie Flanery and Ashley Jackson posted back-to-back-to-back event-winning routines of 9.875 on floor as the Sooners closed with a 49.300 on the apparatus for the quad meet victory.  It marked the third time this season that three Sooners had clinched a share of an individual event title  (beam - TWU, floor - Minnesota). 

• RACKING UP THE VAULT TITLES                                                                                                            
Sometimes overshadowed by fellow freshman Megan Ferguson's strong start to the year, Sara Stone won a share of her fourth vault title of the young season at Denver with a 9.85.  The Dallas, Texas, native stands third in the Big 12 on the apparatus with a RQS of 9.855.

• SMITH AND FLANERY BOTH WIN TWO                                                                                             
Juniors Kristin Smith and Jackie Flanery both left Denver with a pair of titles against the Pioneers.  Smith nabbed her first event titles of the year, winning the beam title outright with a season-high 9.9 and sharing top honors on floor with Flanery (9.85).  Flanery also took home a share of the vault crown with Sara Stone (9.85). 

• FRESHMEN PHENOMS                                                                                                                         
OU's Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have either led the Sooners outright or tied for the team event high on seven occasions already this season.  Ferguson paced the Sooners on bars against Florida (9.85), tied for the beam crown against TWU (9.925), shared top beam honors for the Sooners against Minnesota (9.875) and led the Sooners on bars (9.85) in the quad meet, while Stone's 9.85 on vault at Denver shared the event title.  Stone also posted a team-high 9.875 against Arkansas, a week after sharing vault honors with Ashley Jackson at TWU.    



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