Sooners remain unbeaten and improve to 5-0 on the season, K.J. Kindler clinches 99th win at OU.
Jan. 21, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -- No. 3 Oklahoma rallied past No. 23 Denver and No. 6 Oregon State to improve to 5-0 on the season in front of 1,684 fans at the Lloyd Noble Center on Friday. The Sooners finished with a 195.300 to top visiting Oregon State (194.650), Denver (194.300) and Centenary (187.625).
"They showed huge heart, huge fight," OU head coach K.J. Kindler said. "We've seen lots of teams all across the country, in all sports, get down and stay down. They didn't do that, they felt like they could still win. That was huge, especially for such a young team, that's huge."
The Sooners trailed No. 23 Denver going into the final rotation, 146.275-146.000, marking the first time OU has trailed an opponent past the second rotation this season. However, the Sooners posted a season-high 49.300 on floor to clinch the victory.
"They fought for it tonight, they fought for that win," Kindler said of her 99th victory at OU. "It's probably worth more than the other wins we've had this season."
OU posted scores of 9.8 or higher on five of six routines on floor to close the meet. Sophomore Kayla Nowak scored a season-high 9.9 to win the floor event title, only OU's second 9.9 of the season.
Four Sooners added scores of at least 9.8 to seal the quad-meet victory, Brie Olson (9.825), Taylor Spears (9.85), Megan Ferguson (9.85) and Sara Stone (9.875).
The comeback gave the Sooners their 16th straight win at home as head coach K.J. Kindler improved to 32-2 in Norman.
"Winning is everything," Kindler said. "Regardless of the score you walk out with a win. They have to want that. Yes the score is important in gymnastics but the confidence they get from winning is invaluable."
OU started strong with a season-high 49.125 on vault paced by the Sooners' first 9.9 of the season from Natasha Kelley. OU added three routines of 9.8 or higher from Stone (9.85), Melanie Root (9.825) and Olson (9.8). Kelley and Olson both posted season-highs, while Root matched her previous season-high set against Arkansas.
The Sooners were forced to count two falls on bars in the second rotation, finishing with a season-low team score of 47.825 on the event. Kelley led the team on bars, posting a 9.85 on the apparatus in the anchor position.
"Two of those mistakes on bars were from people that were brand new to the lineup this year and they have been stellar so far," Kindler added. "But a mistake is going to happen at some point."
OU opened the third rotation with five-straight scores of 9.775 or higher on beam. The Sooners finished the rotation with a season-high tying 49.025 on the event.
"They knew after bars that it was going to be the best and nothing less," Kindler said. "They delivered, completely, they delivered."
Senior Natalie Ratcliff led the team on the event with a season-high 9.85. Kelley added a 9.825 on the apparatus, to finish the night with three scores of a 9.825 or higher.
Freshman Spears who entered the meet ranked No. 1 nationally on beam added a 9.8 for the Sooners on beam Friday.
The Sooners head to Denton, Texas, for their second road meet of the season on Sunday, Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. This weekend marks the first time since 2007 that the Sooners have competed in two team events in a three-day span in the regular season.