NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 2 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team used another hard-fought effort to earn a solid 197.250-195.850 victory over No. 15 Illinois on Friday night. OU was joined by 1,625 fans at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman as it knocked off its fifth ranked opponent in the last three meets.
“We talked about (fighting to the finish) in the gym and they seem to be quite good at it," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "It is a great trait to have, but we also talk about coming out hot and keeping that mentality throughout the meet. This team needs to learn to do that. No matter what event they are starting on they need to come out and be spot on right out of the gate."
It was a night of shining performances for two Sooners, with sophomore Haley Scaman and freshman Chayse Capps sweeping all four individual event titles for Oklahoma. The duo tied for the vault title (9.925), with Scaman adding solo titles on bars (9.9) and floor (9.975). Capps added a title of her own on beam (9.9) to round things out.
The Sooners were back to their strong selves on vault, sticking close to their season average with a strong 49.400. OU was paced by the end of its lineup, with Capps and Scaman earning identical scores of 9.925 in the Nos. 5 and 6 spots, respectively. Kanewa contributed a 9.875 in the middle of the lineup, her sixth of 9.875 or higher this season. Oklahoma native Charity Jones made her first career appearance in the Sooners' competitive lineup, posting a solid 9.85 for her squad.
Illinois picked up a 48.775 in its first rotation on bars, led by a 9.825 from Sarah Fiedler. OU took a quick and commanding 49.400-48.775 lead over the Illini with one event down.
With Scaman leading the way on her second straight event, OU earned a 49.150 on bars in the second rotation. Scaman's meet-best 9.9 was tops for the Sooners, while Rebecca Clark, Taylor Spears and Erica Brewer all tied for second with 9.825 routines.
"I think bars is the one that I feel we are definitely not doing what we are capable of," Kindler said. "You can see from the score that we had a lot of misses--things that we work on everyday in the gym but aren’t coming out when we compete.”
Behind a 9.875 vault from Amber See, Illinois earned a 49.050 in its second event of the evening. The Sooners extended their lead after two rotations, holding a 98.525-97.825 advantage over the Illini.
Oklahoma started to create momentum on beam despite a shuffled lineup, earning one of its top five scores this season with a 49.300 on the event. Capps made her first career appearance in the anchor position on the event and shone with her meet-high 9.9. Brewer posted a fantastic routine in the No. 2 position, earning a 9.875 to tie with Clark for second place overall on the event.
See led the Illini for the second consecutive event, with her 9.875 pacing UI a 49.100 on floor. With just one rotation to go, Oklahoma led Illinois by a 147.875-146.925 margin.
OU brought it home on floor to close the night, earning a 49.375 to finish on a high note. Scaman picked up a 9.975 to lead the Sooners, marking the fourth time in four meets the sophomore has earned a 10.0 from at least one judge on the event. Senior Lara Albright gave Scaman a momentum boost as she returned from illness to post a 9.9 in the No. 5 position. Capps picked up a 9.85, and senior Taylor Spears added an identical score to boost Oklahoma to a win.
“I think just focusing on details in the gym and practicing has been helping," Scaman said. "I’ve just been trying to put them all together in meets. It feels awesome when I hit that routine that I know I can do.”
Illinois used three 9.8s on beam to post a 48.925 on their final event, but it wouldn't be enough to overcome the Sooners. UI picked up its lone event title of the night from Giada O'Connor, who posted a 39.125 to win the all-around.
Oklahoma will continue its two-week home stretch of competition next weekend, facing Arizona State in Norman on Friday, March 7. The 6:45 p.m. meet will be Senior Night at the Lloyd Noble Center, honoring OU's five senior gymnasts for their contributions to the program.