Illinois women’s gymnastics falls to No. 2 Oklahoma

The Illinois women’s gymnastics team was unable to steal a win Friday from No. 2 Oklahoma as the Illini fell 197.250-195.850 in Norman, Okla.

“Going into tonight, we knew it was a huge opportunity to compete against the No. 2 team in the country,” head coach Kim Landrus said Friday. “And I think our girls went in, and they performed their routines. And unfortunately, we had some small errors that cost us some tenths.”

Landrus said the errors had a lot to do with the amplitude and landings, which was most evident when Illinois began the meet on the uneven bars.

The event’s anchor, junior Sunny Kato, only put up a 9.600. Senior Sarah Fiedler was the lone Illini to score above a 9.800 on the apparatus. Her 9.825 earned her second place in the event. Kato’s score was the lowest in the lineup and was dropped to give Illinois a team score, 48.775. The Illini trailed after the Sooners scored a 49.400 on vault.

Illinois came back strong on vault, though, and put together a team total 49.050, its second best vault score of the season and third score above 49 this season.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    Statistically speaking, vault was Illinois’s worst event when the season began. It wasn’t until the fourth meet that the team achieved a 49 on the apparatus. Since then, the scores have improved and shown the growth the vault lineup is making.

    “It’s been an area of focus that we’ve had for the season, and the girls have worked really hard,” Landrus said. “And they came out today and did some really good vaults.”

    Just one week after her perfect vault, senior Amber See’s vault highlighted the lineup with a 9.875. This gave the senior a tie for third place while freshman Erin Buchanan tied for fifth with a 9.850. Despite the comeback, though, Illinois still trailed 98.575-97.825 halfway through the competition.

    From there, the Illini moved on to floor, their best event of the night. Buchanan, See and sophomore Giana O’Connor each earned scores above 9.800 to contribute to the 49.100 team score. See anchored the event and again scored the team high with 9.875. Her performance gave her third on floor.

    Illinois completed the night on the balance beam. Three of the gymnasts scored a 9.800, but the team’s 48.925 wasn’t enough to steal the win.

    “Our sport is based on perfection, and we need to make sure that we’re very definitive in everything we do,” Landrus said Friday. “And unfortunately tonight, we just had little things that cost us in the end result.”

    Ashley can be reached at [email protected] and @wijangco12.