No. 7 Oklahoma closes out its home schedule against TWU and Illinois State at 7 p.m.
March 4, 2009
PREVIEWING FRIDAY'S MEET
NORMAN, Okla. - Ranked No. 7 in the latest GymInfo poll after a posting the highest road score of any squad in the NCAA last weekend (196.800), the OU women's gymnastics team hosts Illinois State and TWU on March 6, at 7 p.m. (CT) inside the Lloyd Noble Center.
Closing out their home schedule on Friday, the Sooners will honor seniors Haley DeProspero, Ashley Jackson, Jessica Kinder and Gina Lesko, who are competing in Norman for the final time.
Holding the highest team RQS (regional qualifying score) of any Big 12 or South Central Region squad. OU leads the conference on all four events and ranks fourth in the country on beam with a RQS of 49.175. The Sooners also hold top 10 NCAA marks on floor (sixth - 49.170) and vault (eighth - 49.155), while standing 12th in the country on bars (48.985).
Oklahoma is coming off of a 196.800-195.525 victory over Iowa State in which the Sooners swept all four event titles and a share of every event honor in Ames, Iowa. DeProspero (vault-9.875), Melanie Root (bars-9.825), Hollie Vise (beam-9.95, bars-9.825) and Kristin Smith (floor-9.9) all won individual event titles as DeProspero bested ISU's Jasmine Thompson for the all-around title.
It's the second of a pair of season meetings with TWU, as the Sooners bested the Pioneers by a final tally of 197.175-189.600 on Jan. 17 in Denton, Texas. OU's team tally in the first meeting was the highest score in the NCAA at the time and still stands as a season high for the Sooners.
TWU enters the tri-meet off of a season-high 193.600 on Feb. 27, nearly upsetting then-29th-ranked N.C. State (193.850). The Pioneers finished second in the home quad meet, beating Centenary College and Wisconsin-Whitewater, behind a team-record all-around tally of 38.975 from Rashonda Cannie.
Illinois State dropped a 194.100-192.325 decision to in-state foe Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 28. The Redbirds picked up their lone event title with a 48.425-48.175 win on beam.
| Sooner to Watch
Haley DeProspero | Sr. | AA
One of four seniors on the 2009 Oklahoma squad, all-arounder Haley DeProspero posted her highest vault score (9.875) since her freshman campaign at ISU last weekend in securing the event title for the Van Alstyne, Texas, native.
The senior gymnast also posted a pair of 9.85s on beam and floor in leading the Sooners to the highest road score of any NCAA squad for the week.
• MEET INFO
Live scoring and a webcast with commentary (Oklahoma All-Access subscribers)will be available on www.SoonerSports.com. Following the meet, a complete recap, photos, video highlights and official scores will also be posted on the site, the official home of OU women's gymnastics.
• WEEKEND ACTION IN THE BIG 12
Friday, March 6:
Illinois State, TWU @ Oklahoma (7 PM)
Saturday, March 7:
Missouri, Central Michigan, Kent State @ Eastern Michigan (7 PM)
Sunday, March 8:
Iowa State @ Nebraska (2 PM)
• PROTECTING THE HOUSE
The Sooners are 17-1 in their last 18 regular season home meets. Before Oklahoma's loss to Arkansas earlier this season, its last home defeat before the postseason came at the hands of an Iowa State team that was coached by K.J. Kindler - OU's current head coach.
• STILL NEAR THE TOP
OU's team tally of 197.175 at TWU on Jan. 17 shares the sixth-best mark in the NCAA this season. Only Alabama, Georgia (twice), LSU and Utah (all Super Six squads from a year ago) have topped the mark.
• DOMINATING THE BIG 12
The Sooners have reeled off a 13-2 record versus Big 12 opponents since the start of the 2007 schedule, including a 8-1 mark during regular season action. Prior to OU's loss at Nebraska earlier this season, its last regular season defeat to a conference opponent was Feb. 10, 2006 (ISU).
• REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma has won 38 of its last 41 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007.
ON TOP OF THEIR GAME
Posting their second-highest score of the season at ISU (the highest road score by any squad in the NCAA
last weekend), the Sooners tallied at least a 9.8 in 18 of 24 routines.
• NOT ACTING LIKE NEWCOMERS
Of the 57 routines that have been competed by gymnasts making their first collegiate appearance on the respective apparatus in 2009, a remarkable 32 (.561) have gone for a 9.8 or better. The respective group hit four of seven at that mark in Ames, Iowa, last weekend.
• BUST OUT THE BROOMS
OU swept all four event titles and at least a share of every individual title at Iowa State, marking the second time this season the Sooners have won at least a share of every crown in a meet (TWU was the other). The Sooners swept all four team event titles seven times a year ago.
• ROAD SWEET ROAD
Posting a then-NCAA-best 197.175 in Denton, Texas, on Jan. 17, and a 196.800 at Iowa State on Feb. 27, it appears that the road could be kind to the Sooners again this season. Five of OU's top seven scores (including three of the top four and a season-best-tying 196.750 at Arkansas) came outside of Norman a year ago.
• "ON" ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Oklahoma is the only squad in the top 15 to have both of its top two season scores come in road competition.
• VAULTING BACK TO YESTERYEAR
Haley DeProspero stuck a season-high 9.875 on vault in winning event honors at Iowa State. The score was her highest vault tally since posting a 9.925 as a freshman. DeProspero also posted 9.85s on beam and floor en route to her first all-around title of the season (39.300).
• FLOOR SENSATION
Kristin Smith posted her latest 9.9 on floor at ISU, marking the second time this season that the Oklahoma City, Okla., junior has tied her career high on the apparatus (also scored a 9.9 on floor at TWU). Entering the year with a personal best of 9.85 on the event, Smith has won a pair of event crowns on the apparatus this season (at Denver and at ISU).
• BANNER YEAR FOR VISE
Reigning Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week Hollie Vise won her seventh and eighth event titles of the season at ISU with a 9.825 on bars (shared event honors with teammate Melanie Root and ISU's Ceilia Maccani) and a career-high 9.95 on beam. The Dallas, Texas., native's eight victories in 2009 overtook her total from all of last season, when she claimed seven titles on the year (four on bars, three on beam). Vise's bars routine at ISU was highlighted by a double-front dismount for the first time since unveiling it against Arkansas on Jan. 26.
• THREE'S COMPANY
Needing to post a solid score to hold off a charging Missouri squad that was hitting its vaults, OU's Kristin Smith, Jackie Flanery and Ashley Jackson posted back-to-back-to-back event-winning routines of 9.875 on floor as the Sooners closed with a 49.300 on the apparatus for the quad meet victory. It marked the third time this season that three Sooners had clinched a share of an individual event title (beam - TWU, floor - Minnesota).
• STICKING TO THE PLAN
Senior all-arounder Ashley Jackson posted her second 9.9-or greater vault in three meets in OU's victory on Feb. 20. Jackson's 9.9 was second to Missouri's Alex Gold, while Jackson won the vault title at Nebraska (9.925) en route to the all-around title against the Huskers.
• SMITH GARNERS CONFERENCE NOD
Junior Kristin Smith became the third Oklahoma gymnast to win a weekly award in 2009, earning Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week honors on Feb. 17. Smith guided the 11th-ranked Sooners to a 196.125-194.825 victory at No. 22 Denver on Feb. 14, winning the beam title with a season-high 9.9 and a share of the floor crown with teammate Jackie Flanery (9.85). It marked the first time the Oklahoma City, Okla., native has captured multiple titles in her collegiate career.
• THREE'S A CHARM
Oklahoma won three of the four event titles in their quad meet win on Feb. 20 over Missouri, Brown and West Virginia, taking home every apparatus honor except for bars. It marked the fourth occasion this season that OU has won at least a share of three event titles in a single meet, a feat the Sooners also accomplished against ISU (four-for-four), TWU (four-for-four) and Minnesota (vault, bars, floor).
• RACKING UP THE VAULT TITLES
Sometimes overshadowed by fellow freshman Megan Ferguson's strong start to the year, Sara Stone won a share of her fourth vault title of the young season at Denver with a 9.85. The Dallas, Texas, native stands third in the Big 12 on the apparatus.
• SMITH AND FLANERY BOTH WIN TWO
Juniors Kristin Smith and Jackie Flanery both left Denver with a pair of titles against the Pioneers. Smith nabbed her first event titles of the year, winning the beam title outright with a season-high 9.9 and sharing top honors on floor with Flanery (9.85). Flanery also took home a share of the vault crown with Sara Stone (9.85).
• FRESHMEN PHENOMS
OU's Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have either led the Sooners outright or tied for the team event high on seven occasions already this season. Ferguson paced the Sooners on bars against Florida (9.85), tied for the beam crown against TWU (9.925), shared top beam honors for the Sooners against Minnesota (9.875) and led the Sooners on bars (9.85) in the quad meet, while Stone's 9.85 on vault at Denver shared the event title. Stone also posted a team-high 9.875 against Arkansas, a week after sharing vault honors with Ashley Jackson at TWU.
• ASHLEY JACKSON SNAGS WEEKLY HONOR
University of Oklahoma senior all-arounder Ashley Jackson was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 10. It's the first conference honor of the season for the Hudsonville, Mich., native who posted career highs on vault (9.925) and the all-around (39.375), capturing the two titles at No. 12 Nebraska on Feb. 8.
The weekly conference honor is the second of Jackson's career, as she was also named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week the first week of February a year ago. The honor comes a week after fellow Oklahoma gymnast Melanie Root was named co-Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week.
• KINDER STEPS UP
The fifth-year senior entered the year without a collegiate event title to her credit, but has already snagged a pair of titles on the young year. Kinder's latest event crown came on bars against Nebraska, after a career-high 9.85. The feat is even more remarkable considering Kinder hadn't event competed on bars until this season. The Kansas City, Mo., native also posted a career-high 9.9 on floor against Minnesota for her first collegiate victory.
• ROOT GARNERS FIRST CONFERENCE HONOR
University of Oklahoma gymnast Melanie Root was named co-Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 3. It's the first conference honor for the Cartersville, Ga., native who tied career highs on vault (9.875) and bars (9.825) against No. 21 Minnesota en route to her first collegiate event title (vault). Root shared the Big 12 accolade with Iowa State's Ceilia Maccani, who scored a career-best 9.85 on beam and a 9.75 on vault in the Cyclone's loss to Michigan.
• CAREER HIGHS FOR A PAIR
Along with Melanie Root's career-high 9.875 on vault, Jessica Kinder posted a then-personal-best 9.8 on bars against the Golden Gophers. Kinder, a fifth-year senior in the Oklahoma program, just started competing on bars in 2009.
• NATALIE'S NIGHT
While many Sooners had trouble on beam against the Razorbacks, the same cannot be said of Natalie Ratcliff. The sophomore posted a 9.825 on the apparatus in just her second collegiate beam routine - a week after posting a 9.875 on the event in her beam debut at TWU. Ratcliff also posted a career-high 9.825 on vault for the Sooners against UA.