No. 2 Sooners will face their second straight top 5 matchup Sunday at UCLA.
March 8, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. --The second-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team faces its second straight top five matchup as the Sooners compete against No. 3 UCLA in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 11 at 4 p.m. CT.
Oklahoma (16-2, 2-0 Big 12) enters Sunday's meet after its comeback win over reigning national champion and then-ranked No. 5 Alabama last Friay on OU's Senior Night. The Sooners posted a season-high 49.500 on floor, anchored by a 9.925 from senior Sara Stone and a 9.95 from senior Megan Ferguson.
OU is the only team in the country to score a 197 or higher six times this season, with four of those scores coming away from Norman. The Sooners boast the country's best road average with a score of 196.888.
UCLA (9-2-1, 5-1-1 Pac 12) is coming off its season-high road score of 196.975 in the Bruins’ loss to No. 4 Georgia last Friday.
UCLA is the only team in the NCAA to break the 198-mark this season, the Bruins posted a 198.050 on Feb. 24 in their last home meet.
The Bruins lead the all-time series with Oklahoma, 9-5. The teams last met at the 2011 NCAA Super Six. UCLA finished in second place with a score of 197.375, while OU finished in third place with a 197.350.
ON THE WEB
There will be live video, live audio as well as live scoring for Sunday's meet. Fans can follow along by clicking the links below or visiting UCLABruins.com.
GYMNAST TO WATCH - SARA STONE
Stone posted her ninth score of 9.9 or higher on vault against Alabama with a 9.925 and added a career-high-tying 9.925 on floor in OU’s win over the Crimson Tide. Stone is currently ranked No. 1 on vault, No. 11 on floor and No. 17 on beam nationally.
The Sooners head to Columbus, Ohio, for their last regular season meet of 2012 against No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday, March 17 at 3 p.m. CT. OU opens the postseason with the 2012 Big 12 Championship on Saturday, March 24 at 4 p.m., in Norman at the LNC.
LAST TIME OUT
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 fought from behind to beat the Crimson Tide who held a .425 lead over the Sooners heading into the final rotation. The Crimson Tide 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.
197 AND COUNTING
OU is the only team in the NCAA this season to break the 197-mark six times this season, four of which have come away from Norman. With the 197.450 at TWU on Jan. 21, OU became the first program in the country to break the 197-mark on the road this year. The 197.450 was the fourth-highest team score in school history and was the second-highest score in the Kindler era. OU’s program-best team score of 197.950 came on March 5, 2010 against then-No. 1 Alabama at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Heading into the final rotation, Alabama led OU by .425. With just one event left, OU needed a huge score on floor to have any chance of passing the Crimson Tide. After an out-of-bounds penalty in the first routine, the Sooners responded with three straight scores of 9.875 from Brie Olson, Erica Brewer and Kayla Nowak. In true senior night form, seniors Sara Stone and Megan Ferguson were the only gymnasts left in the lineup and would need big scores. Stone delivered with a career-high-tying 9.925, to cut Bama’s lead to 197.150-197.050. Ferguson would need at least a 9.825 in the final routine of the night for OU to pass Alabama. With everything on the line, Ferguson posted a career-high-tying 9.95 on the event to clinch the win against the previously unbeaten Tide.
The first Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) rankings were released Monday, Feb. 27. RQS is determined by averaging each team’s three highest road scores and three next-best scores (with the highest score eliminated). This week, OU remained at No. 2 in the overall team rankings, just .020 behind No. 1 Florida. In event rankings, OU moved to No. 1 on floor and No. 2 on beam. Megan Ferguson is the top-ranked gymnast on floor and No. 2 on both bars and beam, while Sara Stone is No. 1 on vault. The Sooners have a total of 12 individuals ranked in the top 25 over the four events, including four gymnasts in the top 25 on both beam and floor.
BIG 12’S BEST
The Sooners hold the top spot in the Big 12 rankings in all five team categories and the four individual event categories. The Sooner gymnasts hold the top two individual spots on all four events, while OU holds all top six spots in Big 12 individual beam rankings and four of the top five floor spots. OU has won 14 Big 12 weekly awards in 2012 and has won all nine Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week honors, a conference record. Brie Olson was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the week on Jan. 10, Taylor Spears was Event Specialist of the Week on Jan. 17, Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 24 and Feb. 14, Sara Stone was named Event Specialist of the Week on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31, Megan Ferguson was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week for Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28 and March 6, Rebecca Clark was Newcomer of the Week on Feb. 14, Erica Brewer was Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 21 and Kayla Nowak was Gymnast of the Week for March 6.
Seniors Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have provided consistency and stability for the Sooners in 2012. Combined, Ferguson and Stone won or shared 23 of the 28 event titles, set or tied 11 career-highs and scored a 9.9 or higher in 29 routines. Ferguson has posted a 9.9 or higher in 17 of her last 21 routines while Stone has scored a 9.9 or higher 12 times this year. Ferguson is ranked in the top three nationally on all three events she competes, while Stone leads the country on vault.
The Sooners boast the highest road average of any team in the top 25. OU is one of just four teams in the NCAA to post above a 197 team score on the road and has done so four times. OU is 8-1 on the road, with its only loss coming to then-ranked No. 7 Oregon State. The Sooners upset No. 2 Arkansas in Fayetteville on Feb. 5 with their second best score of the season (197.425).
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 46-3 in Norman under sixth-year head coach K.J. Kindler. One of OU’s three losses at home was to Alabama. Top-seeded Alabama knocked off the Sooners en route to the NCAA South Central Regional title in 2008. Among the 74 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over then-ranked No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 4 Florida in 2010.
TO BE THE BEST...
You have to beat the best. OU is no stranger to tough schedules and 2012 is no exception. The Sooners have five of the current top 10 teams on its 2012 slate, including No. 3 UCLA this Sunday. OU has already seen then-ranked No. 2 Arkansas, No. 5 Alabama, No. 7 Oregon State, and No. 9 Nebraska and still has No. 3 UCLA and No. 13 Ohio State remaining on the schedule.
CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA IN 2012
OU starts the 2012 season ranked No. 4 in the GymInfo preseason coaches poll, behind No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Florida. The Sooners received two first place votes in the poll and tied OU’s program-best preseason ranking. The Sooners add five newcomers for 2012 and return an impressive 18 of 24 routines from the 2011 lineup, including nine All-American performances. Headlining OU’s returners are five-time All-American Megan Ferguson, two-time All-American Kayla Nowak and All-Americans Brie Olson and Sara Stone. Ferguson, Nowak Olson and Stone provide veteran leadership and experience that will be vital for the young Sooners. OU will be tested in 2012 with the loss of All-American Natasha Kelley and a challenging schedule. Kelley, who consistently scored in the 9.9s on vault, bars and beam, suffered a season-ending injury during preseason practice. The loss of Kelley’s talent and experience will challenge OU’s depth throughout the 2012 schedule, which includes 10 teams ranked in the preseason top 25 and five top 10 teams.
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.