NORMAN — Sooner coach K.J. Kindler’s second-ranked gymnastics team probably understood, at least theoretically, that any big error could prove costly. Be it a dual or the NCAA championships, one slip-up can be too many.
Sunday, facing third-ranked LSU in front of more than 2,500 fans inside Lloyd Noble Center, the point was driven home in a very non-theoretical way.
Because two Sooners failed to keep themselves on the beam, it was the Tigers who exited with a 197.650-197.325 victory.
“You can’t have mistakes against a team like this,” Kindler said.
OU lost despite posting its best collective scores of the season on three of the four disciplines: vault (49.525), bars (49.475) and floor (49.525).
After vault and bars were in the books, it was the third apparatus of the afternoon where things went awry.
McKenzie Wofford, who had nailed a 9.90 routine on bars a few minutes earlier, fell off the beam and stuck the Sooners with an 8.85 score.
Had their been no more mistakes, OU could have survived unharmed. That might have been the case until Rebecca Clark, the sixth Sooner to take to the beam, lost her balance and also found the floor. Clark scored a 9.375, allowing OU to drop Wofford’s score only to be stuck with hers.
While OU scored 48.800 on the beam, LSU scored 49.500 on the floor to take the lead.
The Sooners responded well when they took to the floor, earning a collective 49.525. Meanwhile, LSU held steady during its turn on the beam, delivering a 49.500 to take the dual.
“I think it just gets us motivated to go in the gym and work better and hopefully win next time,” said OU’s Haley Scaman, who enjoyed the best singular day of any gymnast in the arena.
Scaman scored 9.90 on the vault, 9.925 on the bars and, after skipping the beam, 9.975 on the floor.
She was one of three gymnasts, along with LSU’s Lloimincia Hall and Sarie Morrison, to receive a perfect 10 from at least one judge. Scaman and Hall pulled it off on the floor, while Morrison did it on the vault.
“I think the energy from our team was great (and) that really got me going,” Scaman said. “I just knew I had to bring scores for the team.”
Scaman could do little about what cost OU the dual.
“We set ourselves up to be successful but just couldn’t come through on the beam,” Kindler said. “We’ve usually been on the winning side of the balance beam and tonight we weren’t. It just reminds you that there is no inch, no possibility to make those little errors because they can become big errors like that.”
The loss may actually set up a little drama for the Sooners.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, OU’s at the Metroplex Challenge at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The Sooners’ opponents will be Arizona, Kentucky and, guess who, LSU.
“We have it in us,” said OU’s Chayse Capps, who contributed a 9.95 on the vault and a 9.90 on the floor. “We’ve done it many times before, so it just gives us more motivation to work hard in the gym and go get it next weekend.”
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