March 3, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. - The fourth-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team returns home to Norman as the Sooners host their second quad meet of the season on Friday, March 4 at 7 p.m., featuring No. 17 Illinois, No. 13 Ohio State and Texas Woman’s at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma (11-0, 3-0 Big 12) is coming off its third win over a top 10 opponent this season.
The Sooners defeated No. 8 Michigan on the road, 196.650-196.275, with their second-best score of the season.
The Sooners lead the all-time series with all three teams competing in Norman Friday. OU is 7-0 all-time against Illinois, 4-2 against Ohio State and 58-3 against TWU.
OU is one of two unbeaten teams in the NCAA and has won 25-straight regular season matchups over the past two seasons. The Sooners last regular season loss was to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13, 2009.
Friday's meet will be televised live on Cox channel 3 and 703 in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, featuring commentary by Bart Conner and former OU gymnasts Hollie Vise and Julie Kramer.
ON THE WEB:
Friday's broadcast can also be found online on Oklahoma All-Access, SoonerSports.com's premium site. Live scoring will also be available on SoonerSports.com during the meet. Follow the links on the side of this page for live web coverage.
For tickets, call (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be purchased at the main ticket office in Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium or at the Lloyd Noble Center on the day of the meet.
Friday is "Year of the Fan" night at OU gymnastics. Fans in attendance will have a chance to win hundreds of dollars in prizes as a thank you for their support. Additionally, the first 1,000 fans will receive the OU women's gymnastics "Year of the Fan" collectible pin. Friday is also alumni night at the Lloyd Noble Center. Former OU gymnasts will be in attendance and will be recognized prior to the meet.
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Oklahoma has 10 gymnasts ranked in the top 25 over all four events. Sara Stone is ranked No. 8 on vault while Natasha Kelley is No. 19. Kelley is also ranked on bars at No. 13 while Megan Ferguson is No. 25. Ferguson is also No. 4 on beam while Kelley is No. 9 and Taylor Spears is No. 15. Nowak is No. 7 on floor, while Stone is No. 14 and Ferguson is No. 15. The Sooners are ranked in the top eight on all four events as a team, OU is No. 7 on vault, No. 8 on bars, No. 2 on beam and No. 4 on floor.
KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE
The Sooners finished the 2010 regular-season as the only undefeated team in the NCAA. In 2011 OU has won 11-straight and remains unbeaten, bringing its current regular-win streak to 25 victories. OU’s last regular-season loss was to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13, 2009.
Oklahoma remains ranked No. 2 on beam this week after scoring a 49.000 or higher for the eighth time this season against Michigan. An OU gymnast has scored a 9.9 or higher on beam eight times this season, including a 9.95 from freshman Madison Mooring against TWU on Jan. 23. OU has three individuals ranked in the top 15 on the event, Megan Ferguson is No. 4, Natasha Kelley is No. 9and Taylor Spears is No. 15. The three Sooners are also the top three competitors on beam in the Big 12, while Kayla Nowak is ranked No. 5 in the conference.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 33-2 in Norman under fifth-year head coach K.J. Kindler. OU’s only two losses at home have come against SEC opponents in Alabama and Arkansas. Top-seeded Alabama knocked off the Sooners en route to the NCAA South Central Regional title in 2008, while OU’s loss to Arkansas in the 2009 home opener marked Oklahoma’s only regular season home defeat in Kindler’s tenure.Among the 66 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over then-ranked No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 4 Florida in 2010 as well as wins over Auburn, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State, Stanford and West Virginia.
FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM
Sophomore Kayla Nowak competed in the all-arounder for the first time this season and just the second time in her career at Michigan on Feb. 26. Nowak scored a career-high 39.375, finishing in second place by just .025 behind the nation’s No. 1-ranked all-arounder, Michigan’s Kylee Botterman who posted a 39.400. Nowak vaulted for the first time this season, scoring a career-high 9.9 to share the event title with teammate Sara Stone.
MAKING A STATEMENT
Oklahoma became one of just three teams in the NCAA to break 197 this season, and the first team to do so on the road, en route to its 197.225-195.375 victory over Iowa State on Feb. 11. The Sooners set season highs on three events (bars, beam and floor) while 11 OU gymnasts set or tied career highs against the Cyclones. OU posted a 49.450 on bars, just one-10th shy of OU’s all-time program record on the event (49.550 set on March 12, 2003). OU’s Natasha Kelley scored a career-high 9.95 on bars and a career-high 9.925 on beam against Iowa State, becoming one of just two gymnasts in the country to score a 9.95 on bars. Kelley’s beam score was the second-highest by a Big 12 gymnast, behind teammate Madison Mooring (9.95 on beam at TWU).
Six of OU’s seven highest team scores this season have come away from Norman, including its season-high 197.225 that was set at Iowa State. The Sooners were the first team in the NCAA this season to break the 197 mark on the road. The Sooners are no strangers to road success, OU has posted five of its seven highest scores away from Norman for three-straight seasons. The Sooners are 36-5 on the road during the regular season under head coach K.J. Kindler.
FEAR THE SPEARS
OU freshman Taylor Spears was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for the second-straight week and third time overall after setting career-highs on all three of her routines at Iowa State. Spears scored a 9.9 on both bars and beam and a 9.875 on floor. Spears is the only freshman in the Big 12 to score a 9.9 on bars this season and is one of just three Big 12 freshmen to score a 9.875 on floor this year (joining teammate Hayden Ward and Iowa State’s Michelle Shealy). Spears is the only freshman on OU’s squad to score a 9.9 on multiple events. Spears has scored a 9.8 or higher on all six of her beam routines this season, is currently ranked No. 15 on the apparatus and is the highest-ranked freshman in the Big 12 on beam.
WIN NO. 100
OU improved to 6-0 on the season, with wins over No. 6 Oregon State, No. 23 Denver, Centenary and TWU the weekend of Jan. 23. With the wins, OU Head Coach K.J. Kindler moves to 100 victories at Oklahoma. The Sooners are 105-36-2 overall under Kindler, 33-2 at home, 36-5 on the road and 66-6 in the regular season.
REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma is 66-6 in the regular season under Kindler. The Sooners finished the 2010 regular season as the only undefeated team in the NCAA at 14-0 and have won 25-consecutive matchups. OU has gone undefeated in the regular season twice in the past three seasons.
Oklahoma completed its Big 12 regular season competitions undefeated with a win over Missouri on Feb. 18. OU is No. 1 in the conference on every event except vault and boasts the top individuals on both beam and bars. Eight times this season, an OU gymnast has earned Big 12 weekly honors. Kayla Nowak was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week after Michigan. Freshman Taylor Spears has earned Newcomer of the Week three times, more than any other Big 12 freshman. Freshman Madison Mooring has also won the newcomer honors while Natasha Kelley, Kayla Nowak and Sara Stone have all been named Big 12 Event Specialists of the Week.
For the ninth-straight meet, OU had at least one freshman compete on all four events. Fifty-six of OU’s routines this season have been performed by freshmen. Taylor Spears is currently ranked No. 15 nationally on beam and has scored a 9.9 on both bars and beam. Madison Mooring has competed on at least two events in every meet and has performed on three events for most of the season. Mooring was the first freshman in the NCAA this season to post a 9.95 on beam. Hayden Ward has competed on bars and floor for the Sooners, Ward and Mooring both joined the team in December following their high school graduations. Hope Bruce set a career-high on beam at Michigan in just her second appearance in the beam lineup with a 9.875.
The Sooners face nine teams currently ranked in the preseason top 25, including three top 10 teams and five programs that competed at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA IN 2011
Oklahoma started the season ranked No. 4 nationally, the highest preseason ranking in program history. The back-to-back-to-back Big 12 Champions return nine members of the record-breaking 2010 squad, as the team looks to make its second-straight NCAA Super Six in 2011.
Headlining OU’s returnees are Megan Ferguson and Natasha Kelley. Ferguson is a two-time All-American and was named All-Big 12 on both bars and beam in 2010. Kelley was named the 2010 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 on vault and bars. The redshirt-sophomore enters the 2011 season with a career-high 9.925 on vault and 9.9 on both bars and beam. The Sooners welcome four newcomers for the 2011 season. Hope Bruce and Taylor Spears joined the team in the summer of 2010, while Madison Mooring and Hayden Ward began training with the team in December.
FOLLOW THE SOONERS
The OU gymnastics program maintains its own Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts, which are updated frequently with all of the latest news about the squad. Links to each of these pages as well as a behind-the-scenes blog can be found at www. SoonerSports.com.