Missouri gymnastics positive after loss to Oklahoma

Friday, February 17, 2012 | 11:37 p.m. CST; updated 10:44 a.m. CST, Saturday, February 18, 2012
Allie Heizelman and teammates cheer on Taylor Medrea during her floor routine against Oklahoma on Feb. 17 at Hearnes Center.

As Missouri's Tori Howard danced during her floor routine on Friday night, her teammates lined up on the side of the mat and danced with her.

When she snapped, they snapped. When she lifted her arms, they lifted their arms.  

The team chatting, joking and singing on the sidelines didn't look like one that was about to lose its first dual meet of the season. 

Although the No. 16 Tigers lost to No. 3 Oklahoma, they posted their highest score of the season at 196.375 and remained positive after the meet. 

Senior Mary Burke said the team's laid-back attitude was a product of unprecedented team chemistry.

"Our camaraderie's been amazing this year, far more than my past three years," Burke said. "We're best friends in and out of the gym."

By replicating the atmosphere of practice, the team was able to relax on the floor, Burke said.

"It's always easier when you're goofing around and doing what you do in practice, not being so tense and uptight," she said.

Coach Rob Drass said the team enjoyed playing up the floor routines for the crowd. 

"Once you get beam under your belt, you kind of breathe a sigh of relief and go to the floor," he said. "We had a decent crowd, and I think they enjoy performing for the crowd."

Although the team was unable to defeat its Big 12 rival, Drass had no complaints.

"You can't ask a whole lot more of your team than to go and knock out the best job they've done all year," he said.

The Sooners executed their routines all night, making few mistakes as they finished with a score of 197.4, just shy of their season high. 

"They just sort of were red hot tonight," Drass said. "I think we pushed them to a great score. They knew we were going to bring it, so they better bring it too."

Missouri posted its best floor exercise score of the season with a collective score of 49.3. 

The Tigers also had an outstanding meet on the vault as they recorded a team score of 49.35, which tied for the second-highest score in team history. 

The Tigers are now 6-3 on the season. Missouri will host Bowling Green next Friday at Hearnes Center at 6:30 p.m.

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