UCLA and Oklahoma entered the last rotation tied at 148.200.
Senior Katelyn Ohashi was the final athlete up on balance beam for the Bruins – but the Sooners clinched the win before she could finish her routine.
No. 2 UCLA gymnastics (7-1, 6-0 Pac-12) posted its third-lowest score of the season on Sunday in its 197.775-197.575 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma (7-0, 1-0 Big 12). It was the Bruins’ lowest-scoring outing since Jan. 27th.
“You can’t come into this meet and just be good, and have a few 10s,” said coach Valorie Kondos Field. “This is where you really see the courage of your team and this revealed what we need to go home and work on, instead of just riding the crest of ‘We’re undefeated.’”
Junior Kyla Ross opened her day with a 10 on both uneven bars and vault – the two events on which the former Olympian has also managed to record perfect scores in competitions earlier this season. The two 10s were Ross’ sixth and seventh of the year and marked her fifth straight competition with a perfect score.
Ross is the only gymnast in the country with multiple 10s in one competition this year.
The Sooners finished the first rotation on vault with a .125 lead despite Ross’ perfect score. The Bruins’ 49.300 on uneven bars was their third-lowest score of the season on the event.
After two rotations, Oklahoma had a .475 lead despite Ross’ best efforts. The rest of the Bruins whose scores counted toward the team total on vault averaged 9.806. Vault is the only event on which UCLA does not rank No. 1 nationally − Oklahoma does.
“I feel like in our first two events we were in their heads a little bit,” Ross said. “They had more doubts in their head than confidence going into the event. I could feel it.”
Ross has yet to post a 10 on floor in her career. After being scored a 10 by one judge and a 9.95 by the other, the junior posted her fourth 9.975 of the season on the event Sunday, meaning that her quest for a “gym slam” will continue.
“I was really hoping for the 10 on floor,” Ross said. “But, hopefully, it will come in the next few meets. It was fun to start out so strong but it was kind of disappointing not to end the meet on a high.”
The Bruins’ 9.675 team score on floor was their third highest of the season.
Ohashi scored her fourth perfect 10 on floor with a routine that has been the most watched sports clip of 2019. If Ohashi had scored any lower than a 10, the two teams would not have entered their last events on even ground.
“ESPN – you’re welcome,” Kondos Field said. “We could not have asked for a more exciting storyline going into the last event, we were completely tied.”
Heading into beam, the Bruins boasted two athletes ranked in the top four, but despite a 9.875 from Ross and a 9.950 to cap off the rotation from Ohashi, Oklahoma edged out UCLA.
“I saw what was happening with our team and it looked like we were playing safe,” Ohashi said. “I didn’t see any of the scores, but I could tell. I wanted to go up and do my best and have my team’s back because of that.”
Ross’ 39.850 all-around score ties her career- and season-best and is the highest score in the country this season by .175. The other all-arounders in Sunday’s competition − Oklahoma’s Brenna Dowell and Anastasia Webb − posted a 39.500 and a 39.425, respectively.
UCLA owns 12 perfect scores this season and Oklahoma − which has the second most 10s as a team this season − has three. There are a total of 17 perfect 10s in the country this season and Ross has seven of them.
“We talk a lot about hitting that refresh button,” Kondos Field said. “I think we need to hit the refresh button on what makes a champion, what is the meaning of great. It really is all-encompassing.”
UCLA will return home for two meets in a row against No. 22 Stanford and Utah State before Pac-12 championship competition begins.