March 19, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The second-ranked OU women's gymnastics team (14-0) became the only squad in the NCAA to post an unblemished regular season record in two of the last three years with a 197.475-196.100 win at No. 6 Arkansas (7-4-1) in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday.
The Sooners quieted the Barnhill Arena crowd of 4,008 with a sweep of all four event titles, spoiling Senior Night festivities for the home squad for the second consecutive road meet.
It was the highest team score ever recorded inside Barnhill Arena, easily outdistancing the 197.025 by Arkansas earlier this season and the 196.725 by visiting Georgia in 2009. OU also set arena records on bars (49.375) and beam (49.450).
Oklahoma also picked up at least a share of all four individual event titles with wins on vault (Sara Stone - 9.95), bars (Hollie Vise and Megan Ferguson - 9.9), beam (Kristin Smith - 9.95) and floor (Jackie Flanery - 9.925).
OU improved to 5-0 against top-10 opponents this season, including four victories over SEC foes ranked in the top 10 (No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Florida, No. 6 Arkansas and No. 9 Auburn).
The Sooners turned in their highest road score on bars this season, opening the event with scores of 9.85 or greater from all six gymnasts en route to a 49.375-49.300 lead after the first rotation. Vise and Ferguson shared the event title, while Natasha Kelley completed the OU sweep with a 9.875 for third place. Flanery, Melanie Root and Brie Olson ignited the fast start with three straight 9.85s to open the meet.
The team bars score tied OU's effort in its upset of top-ranked Alabama and was just short of the Sooners' season high of 49.425 against Iowa State on Feb. 12. Oklahoma held a slim margin over the Razborbacks despite a season-high-tying vault score from the home squad.
Oklahoma held a 98.775-98.400 lead at the midway point after picking up its second straight event win of the night on vault (49.400). Sara Stone anchored with her eighth straight score of 9.875 or higher on the apparatus, picking up her third win on vault in the last five meets with a 9.95 that tied Arkansas' Casey Jo Magee. Kelley shared third with a 9.9, while Olson stuck a 9.875 that received scores of 9.95 and 9.8 from the judging panel.
The Sooners closed floor with four straight scores of 9.8 or higher for a team tally of 49.250. Flanery anchored the lineup with a 9.925, while Smith and Ferguson added a pair of 9.875s. Vise scored a 9.8. Stone added a 9.775 from the first position despite incurring a 0.1 point deduction for stepping out of bounds prior to her first pass.
OU won its 10th team event title of the season on beam, clinching the undefeated regular season with a 49.450 on the apparatus. Smith clinched a share of her fifth event title of the season with a career-high-tying 9.95. The Oklahoma City senior had fond memories of the arena, as she posted a 9.925 on beam in her first routine eclipsing the 9.9 barrier the last time the Sooners visited Arkansas in 2008.
Kelley scored a 9.9 on beam, while Vise and Ferguson closed the night with a pair of 9.875s as Oklahoma improved to 55-6 in the regular season under K.J. Kindler
It was the fourth time this season the Sooners have posted at least a 49.000 on an event in a road event.
OU was led by a different gymnast on each event in the win and didn't compete an all-arounder for the ninth time in 11th meets this season. It was the highest score by an Arkansas opponent in 2010.
Oklahoma now turns its attentions towards the postseason as the Sooners travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the Big 12 Championship on March 27 at 2 p.m. (CT). OU is a win away from three straight conference titles for the first time since it reeled off back-to-back-to-back titles in 1984-1986.