Illinois back to Huff to face Iowa


Illinois’ Erin Buchanan competes her floor exercise routine during the Gym Jam at Huff Hall on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

By Tyler Fedak

Tweet: @IlliniWGym returns to Huff Hall to start the second half of the season #illini

After two weeks on the road, the Illinois women’s gymnastics team is bringing the flips back to Huff Hall to kick off the second half of its season.

The No. 20 Illini (3-2, 2-2 Big Ten) have split their last two Big Ten road games, winning against Penn State and falling to Minnesota. The 2-2 conference record puts them at fifth in the conference.

The Illini face Iowa (5-1, 4-0) Saturday at 4 p.m. in Huff Hall.

The first half of the season proved to be inconsistent for Illinois. Its team score total has hovered around 195 all year — the team’s highest score was a 195.725 against Penn State. As the team looks towards the postseason, it will need to aim higher to compete with conference teams like Michigan, who has averaged a 196.860 total score so far this season.

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For Illinois to get to that level, it will need to perform at higher levels with more consistency. Last week, the team struggled to keep up with the early-season performance, scoring a season-low total score of 195.

The team is most successful on floor so far on the season, boasting a 49.040 average. If the team can perform vault and bars to the same caliber, these gymnasts will be able to compete with the conference leaders.

Iowa is currently tied for first place in the Big Ten — the Hawkeyes are undefeated in the conference and currently tied for first with Michigan. With only two conference meets left, Illinois will need a win this weekend to bring their Big Ten record above .500 and to prove that it is in the running for the Big Ten title.

With Huff Hall packed with pink for breast cancer awareness, the gymnasts will have the audience behind them to give them the morale boost. It will come down to whether the Illini can go out there and perform at least five hit routines on all four events.

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