By Ryan Aber
The Oklahoman

NORMAN, Okla. — For the second consecutive week, Alabama posted a season-high score.

This time, though, it wasn’t enough as No. 1 Oklahoma defeated the No. 11 Crimson Tide 198.275-197.250 on Friday night at Lloyd Noble Center.

“I just constantly look at this team as one that is learning and growing,” Crimson Tide coach Dana Duckworth said. “What’s special to me is they are truly a team. They are working together; they are helping one another through the highs and lows; they are supporting one another.

“They had to really find a gear tonight.”

Several Crimson Tide gymnasts had been battling illness this week.

During warmups, one Alabama gymnast even came up to Duckworth and told her she couldn’t see the beam.

“There’s no team in the country that isn’t going through that,” Duckworth said of the illnesses and injuries. “I just really am grateful that they are continuing to push to find that next gear.

“Overall, I am pleased with many parts of the performance tonight. I also know that we have to continue to stay about the process, the focus, the details. Nothing matters — outcomes, scores — nothing matters more than staying the course of the details.”

Oklahoma jumped out to a quick lead thanks to a perfect 10 on vault by Brenna Dowell, who won the all-around with a 39.700, beating out Alabama’s Lexi Graber, who had a 39.550.

Duckworth was particularly impressed with the performance of Shallon Olsen, who registered a season-high on beam with a 9.950.

Before the beam, Duckworth came up to Olsen and emphasized a point she’d been making in practice this week.

“I don’t care whatever you do, I want to see that high release,” Duckworth said.

A switch flipped for Olsen after that.

“She became a new version of herself,” Duckworth said. “It was so fun to see her do that.”

Duckworth also praised Jensie Givens’ bar performance after Givens posted a 9.825 in the wake of Shea Mahoney’s fall.

Givens, filling in for Emily Gaskins, was competing in the event for the first time since Feb. 15.

Duckworth said the meet against the top-ranked Sooners would be a valuable learning experience as Alabama moves into the postseason.

“I said it earlier this week — if you want to be the best, compete against the best,” Duckworth said. “I think that our team thrived under this environment and we really enjoyed our experience here.”

The Crimson Tide will compete in the SEC Championships on March 23.

“There’s the beautiful part of this team — they just keep fighting,” Duckworth said. “So I’m looking forward to them continuing to get better.”


Uneven bars
Kylie Dickson, 9.825
Lexi Graber, 9.875
Wynter Childers, 9.875
Ariana Guerra, 9.875
Shea Mahoney, 9.15
Jessie Givens, 9.825
Shea Mahoney, 9.825
Abby Armbrecht, 9.85
Maddie Desch, 9.775
Shallon Olsen, 9.875
Lexi Graber, 9.95
Ariana Guerra, 9.35
Floor exercise
Maddie Desch, 9.85
Shallon Olsen, 9.875
Shea Mahoney, 9.825
Abby Armbrecht, 9.9
Lexi Graber, 9.85
Ariana Guerra, 9.825
Balance beam
Alonzo Klopfer, 9.85
Shallon Olsen, 9.95
Wynter Childers, 9.9
Abby Armbrecht, 9.225
Maddie Desch, 9.825|
Lexi Graber, 9.875