OU Women's Gymnastics Scores Big Win Over No. 5 UCLA
NORMAN, Oklahoma - The No. 2 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team posted a school-record score, defeating No. 5 UCLA in a 198.375-197.200 win in front of a record crowd of 2,874 Friday at the Lloyd Noble Center.
The 198.375 surpassed the program's previous best score of 197.950 set against Alabama in 2010.
"It was a huge win," said senior Brie Olson. "They're huge competition and to know that we protected our house was great. It was just filled with emotions."
In addition to the record-high total score, the Sooners posted season high marks on every event, including a 49.525 on vault, 49.575 on bars, 49.550 on beam and a 49.675 on floor. OU's beam and floor scores are the highest of any team in the nation this season coming into the day.
Olson took the all-around title with a 39.700, a career high score that topped UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa, the nation's top all-arounder, who scored a 39.650. Junior Taylor Spears and freshman Keeley Kmieciak tied Zamarripa with career high scores, also scoring 39.650.
"You know that you've nailed it when the three all arounders competing for you have done the best they've ever done," said OU head coach K.J. Kindler. "I think that says a lot."
OU won three of the four event scores, with Spears taking the beam title, freshman Haley Scaman winning floor and Olson, Kmieciak and freshman Maile'ana Kanewa tying for the vault title.
The Sooners opened the meet on vault, where they posted a season-high 49.525. OU was led by Kanewa, Kmieciak and Olson, who each posted scores of 9.925. Kanewa made her Sooner career debut after missing the first half of the season with an injury, giving OU some early emotion with her inaugural routine.
"Honestly, I wouldn't have been surprised if the adrenaline had affected her vault, but it didn't," Kindler said of Kanewa. "She was practicing in her dorm room last night. Practicing finishing, practicing saluting, that's how much this meant to her."
After the first rotation, the Sooners had a 49.525-49.250 lead, an advantage they would not give up the entire night.
On uneven bars, 9.925 scores from Kmieciak, Olson and Spears led the way for Oklahoma. Kmieciak's was a career high, while Spears' score tied a career high.
OU's season high 49.600 on balance beam was fueled by Spears' 9.975. Erica Brewer's career-high-tying 9.950 and Kmieciak's career high 9.900 also helped boost Oklahoma's total. Coming into the day, no other team in the nation had scored above a 49.500 on beam, a mark OU has now accomplished twice.
"Well you know it's good when you hit, so I knew it was a good routine as soon as I landed," Spears said.
The final event for the Sooners was floor, where they posted a 49.675, sealing the win and the program high score. Olson once again led the way with a meet high and career high 9.950. A 9.900 from Lara Albright and Kmieciak also tied a career high and set a new career high, respectively.
The Sooners will next travel to compete at Texas Woman's University on Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m. CT.