No. 5 Tide Gymnasts At No. 2 Oklahoma
"Oklahoma is a great team," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "They've been in the hunt for the national championship the last two years and are obviously very good again this season."
Friday marks the Crimson Tide's first non-conference meet since the Tide faced off against Penn State, Michigan State and Cornell in State College, Pa. on Jan. 21. Alabama closed out its regular-season Southeastern Conference slate last Friday with a win at LSU, giving the Tide a perfect SEC record for the first time since 1991.
The Sooners, under Coach KJ Kindler, are also coming off a win after beating Michigan and Texas Woman's University last Friday in Norman. Oklahoma is the Tide's fifth opponent ranked in the top-10 and seventh ranked in the top-20 this season.
"The fact that we're seeing this level of competition week-in and week-out is by design," Patterson said. "When we get to the championship season, we're not going to be looking over our shoulders at anyone. We will have seen the nation's best teams."
The last time the Tide and Sooners met was in the 2011 NCAA Championships Super Six Team Finals when Alabama posted a 197.650 to win its fifth national championship and Oklahoma took third with a 197.250. The last time the two teams met in the regular season was in 2010 when No. 2 Oklahoma upset No. 1 Alabama 197.950-197.275 in Norman.
Alabama is led by its vault corps, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation this week. The Tide has averaged a 49.4 on the vault and posted the nation's top score, 49.6, against Florida earlier this season. The Tide's depth on the vault is highlighted by the fact four different gymnasts have won at least two individual vault titles this season. That group includes Diandra Milliner and Geralen Stack-Eaton who have both scored perfect 10.0s on the vault this season.
Oklahoma is led by senior Megan Ferguson who is nationally ranked in the top five in three events, coming in No. 1 on the balance beam, No. 2 on the floor and No. 3 on the uneven bars to lead the Sooners. Fellow senior Sara Stone is ranked No. 1 in the nation on the vault this week.
After back-to-back weeks on the road, Alabama returns home Friday, March 9 when it will face Missouri in the Tide's Tornado Relief Meet starting at 7:30 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum or online at RollTide.com.
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