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Columbia Missourian

Tigers stall on last event

By ERICA BEINLICH
April 1, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT

Adrianne Perry highlighted the Tigers’ conference meet, placing in every event.

Julie Abaray competes in the uneven bars at the Big 12 Conference Championships at Hearnes Center Saturday. She scored a 9.75 for the event.

With one rotation left, No. 18 Missouri trailed No. 10 Oklahoma by .05 of a point at the Big 12 Conference Gymnastics Championships on Saturday at Hearnes Center. With the Sooners heading to the balance beam and the Tigers going to floor,There was a clear possibility of the Tigers beating a top 10 team with the Sooners heading to the balance beam and the Tigers going to floor.

But after the first two gymnasts in the Tigers’ lineup suffered falls on the floor, the team saw second place slipping away.

“I think with floor a lot of people lost a little bit of confidence and a little bit of belief in ourselves,” senior Amanda Pezzullo said. “But just knowing that we were this close to beating the 10th ranked team in the country, and 12 makes nationals, for me and a lot of other girls, it makes me believe in our team so much more.”

The Tigers tallied their lowest event score of the year with a 48.00 on floor, falling to third place behind conference champion No. 7 Nebraska and the Sooners. No. 15 Iowa State placed fourth.

The team’s struggles on floor, characteristically one of its strongest events, left the team and its coaches feeling like they let one slip away.

“We’ve got a little growing up to do,” coach Rob Drass said. “I’d say (the mistakes on floor) were a fluke or whatever, but at some point in time you’ve got to be held accountable for it too. And while I’m very proud of my team, I know we’re better than that, and I can expect more from them.”

Yet the fact that the team topped a higher-ranked opponent in Iowa State and nearly beat a top-10 team, infused the team with a little bit of confidence.

“I think (that we came close to beating Oklahoma) speaks a lot of good things about our team, but we have to finish growing up,” Drass said. “We have to really learn to take advantage of the situation when it’s there. And that’s what teams that belong in the national championships can do.”

Sophomore Adrianne Perry agreed.

“We started off with three great events, and I think we were making our competition a little nervous,” Perry, a sophomore, said. “And then we kind of lost it there on our last event.”

Perry was a highlight for the Missoui, placing on every event, tying for second on vault, swinging to a nine-way tie for fourth on bars, tying for fifth on both beam and floor and placing fourth all-around.