OKLAHOMA CITY — Being the top team in the nation isn’t easy. Each time out, they know opposing squads are looking to knock them out and make a name for themselves.
That has been the case for the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team much of the year. And it didn’t change Friday when it held off No. 5 Alabama during the annual Perfect 10 Challenge at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
It took until the final competitor of the final rotation for OU to pull out a 197.200-197.100 win over the Tide on podiums, which is where all four apparatuses are raised above the arena floor. It’s the same setup the teams will see at the national championships.
“I think we had some mistakes, but we also had some good things,” Oklahoma’s Haley Scaman said. “Going into the last event, we knew we had to put it all out there. We did and it turned out for a win.”
Heading into final rotation, the Sooners held a slight 147.875-147.550 lead over the Crimson Tide. OU would have to rely on their floor routines to put away the SEC foe.
But Alabama didn’t make it easy. They concluded the evening on the vault and after each attempt, their bench went wild.
That was especially true for senior Diandra Milliner, who had the highest individual score of the night on the vault. She scored a 9.975 to give the Tide a 49.550 team score. The senior from Wichita, Kan., went on to win the All-Around title.
On the floor, the Sooners were solid throughout the first four competitors; all of them topped the 9.8 mark.
However, sophomore Maile’ana Kanewa had trouble during her routine and scored a 9.050. It was the second lowest score of the evening in any event.
That left it up to Scaman in the sixth spot to pull through for OU. The week before, the sophomore from Riverside, Ill., had scored a perfect 10 on the floor, so the Sooners knew she had the capability of doing something big.
With the pressure of the meet riding on her shoulders, Scaman posted a 9.925, which gave OU a 49.325 on the floor and preserved the victory.
“I know we had a mistake right before I went,” Scaman said. “So I knew I had to hit. I put it all out there. It’s awesome. I pray every time that I’m going to help my team as best as I can.”
No. 7 Michigan fell to third place with 196.200, and West Virginia took fourth at 193.525.
For most of the night, it was a two-team race between the Tide and Sooners.
“It just shows we’re dedicated,” Scaman said. “We work hard. We can compete with the top teams.”
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