Feb. 7, 2003
NORMAN, Okla. - The No. 15 Oklahoma (195.800) women's gymnastics knocked off No. 17 Penn State (195.450) in its first home dual of the season Friday night at the Lloyd Noble Center. OU improves to 4-6 on the season and Penn State drops to 4-6.
The meet was neck and neck throughout, as the team's flip-flopped in the top spot through the first three events. OU headed into the final rotation on floor exercise with a narrow lead at 147.00-146.650. The meet would come down to the final competitor, senior Patricia Aoki, who scored a 9.925 and solidified the Sooners victory.
"This was another good team performance," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "Patricia Aoki had the meet of her life tonight. She really carried the team. The freshman continue to step up for us in each meet."
Aoki has been on roll the last three meets, setting seven career highs over that span. Aoki set a career-high in the all-around for the third consecutive meet with a 39.500, easily beating her prior score of 39.325. She also notched 9.925's on vault and floor, both were career best and landed her in second and first on the events.
"Patricia is just on fire right now," said Nunno. "She had shoulder surgery before last season and really took the entire year to recover. She planned to have a huge season this year and we were coaches were looking forward to it. She is becoming one of the best all-arounders in the country. The key now is to pace her along and make sure she is strong at the season's conclusion."
Sophomore Allison Landis performed a near-perfect bars routine (9.950) to lead OU, who swept the top three spots on the event. Following Landis was sophomore Erin Labarr (9.875) and Aoki (9.825).
Freshman Meredith Fricke took second on the floor exercise with a 9.925, which tied her career high. Freshman Kelly Haggerty, the No. 9 ranked beam performer in the NCAA, tied for first on the balance beam with a 9.875.
Penn State's Katie Rowland notched the top all-around score with a 39.525 beating Aoki by .025. Rowland took Penn State's only other top finish, on vault, where she barely edged Aoki again, scoring a 9.950.
Oklahoma returns to the Lloyd Noble Center Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in a coed dual meet with the men's gymnastics team against Iowa. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children. For more information on tickets, call (800) 456-GoOU.