March 2, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. – The second-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad handed No. 5 Alabama its first loss of the season Friday, March 2 at the Lloyd Noble Center with a final score of 197.300-197.150.
Oklahoma (16-2, 2-0 Big 12) fought from behind to beat the Crimson Tide who held a .425 lead over the Sooners heading into the final rotation.
The Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-0 SEC) led OU, 148.225-147.800, after three rotations but OU posted a season-high 49.500 on floor to clinch the win over Bama who scored a 48.925 on beam.
“Alabama is an amazing program,” OU head coach K.J. Kindler said. “If you want to qualify for the Super Six and contend for a national championship you have to go through Alabama. Sarah (Patterson) has produced one of the best programs year-after-year in the country. They are truly a dynasty. I’m just very proud that our athletes fought hard tonight.”
In true Senior Night form, senior Sara Stone posted a 9.925 on floor before senior Megan Ferguson scored a 9.95 in the anchor position to secure the victory. “On floor, it was just an amazing performance,” Kindler said. “It was the best performance I have seen our team have as a group. Sometimes when you see the door opening, when Alabama had a mistake or two, a lot of teams might get nervous and ice up. What I really liked was that our team seized it on floor.”
Ferguson won the floor title with her 9.95, while Erica Brewer, Stone and Taylor Spears shared the beam title with scores of 9.875.
OU trailed the Crimson Tide after the first rotation after Bama posted a season-high score on bars with a 49.450 while the Sooners tallied a 49.175 on vault.
“One of the things we knew we would have to do was keep up with Alabama on vault and floor. Out of the gate, we had some adjustments to our vault lineup and I don’t think we performed as well as we could have on that event. On vault, Alabama just knocked it out of the park. We were good, but not stellar. And we needed a stellar vault performance to keep up with them. We needed a stellar performance.”
Stone once again led the team on vault with a 9.925, her ninth score of 9.9 or better on the event this season.
Olson posted the team’s second best score on vault with a 9.85 while OU added four additional scores of 9.8 to post the 49.175.
Kayla Nowak posted a 9.8 in her first appearance in the vault lineup this season, while Brewer, Spears and Hayden Ward also added 9.8s for OU.
At the halfway point, OU trailed Alabama 98.975-98.500. The Crimson Tide posted a 49.525 on vault while the Sooners added a 49.375 on bars.
“Basically, from that moment on we fought back the entire meet,” Kindler said. “We fought back on bars with a tenth here, a tenth there, kind of working our way back in.”
Ferguson posted a team-best 9.9 on the event from the anchor position. Nowak and Olson both added 9.875s for the Sooners, the team’s second highest scores on the event.
Heading into the final rotation, OU trailed the Crimson Tide by .425. OU posted a 49.300 on beam in the third rotation while Bama added a 49.250 on floor.
Three Sooners, Brewer, Spears and Stone, posted 9.875s on beam to boost the team score.
OU roared back on floor with its season-high 49.500 on floor while Bama was forced to count scores of 9.725, 9.775 and 9.775 on beam.
Three OU gymnasts added 9.875s on floor (Olson, Brewer and Nowak) while Stone scored a 9.925 and Ferguson closed with a 9.95.
The Sooners head to Los Angeles for their second straight top five matchup against No. 3 UCLA on Sunday, March 11 at 4 p.m. (CT). UCLA is coming off its 198.050 performance on Feb. 24, the Bruins are the only team in the NCAA to break the 198-mark.