The University of Iowa women's gymnastics team travels to Champaign, Ill. to face No. 21 Illinois on Saturday. The co-ed dual is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. CT inside Huff Hall.
LAST TIME OUT
With 1,329 in attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the Hawkeyes defeated Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago last Friday with a season-best 195.875. Iowa won individual event titles with career-highs on three of the four events. Sophomore Emma Willis won the title on bars (9.875), while sophomore Jessica Morreale captured the beam title (9.875). Freshman Kyra Trowbridge and Willis tied for first-place on the floor (9.900). Michigan State senior captain Taira Neal and sophomore Alina Cartwright both earned a 9.825 to tie for first place on vault. Freshman Alie Glover won the all-around with a career-best 39.050.
GLOVER NAMED BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Glover earned her first Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolade for her performance in the tri-meet. In addition to the all-around title, the Destin, Fla., native placed in the top seven in three events. Alie Glover tied for third on bars with a career-best 9.825, placed fifth on floor (9.800) and seventh on beam (9.750). This week's award marks the first time an Iowa gymnast has won Freshman of the Week since Emma Willis (Jan. 9, 2012).
SCOUTING THE ILLINI
Last weekend, No. 11 Minnesota edged out No. 21 Illinois, 196.775-196.350. Senior Alina Weinstein scored a career-best 39.550 in the all-around, tying Allison Buckley (3/12/11) for the highest all-around score in Illinois history. The Illini totaled season-highs on bars (49.150), vault (49.000) and floor (49.250). Illinois is ranked No. 5 in the Big Ten with a 195.215 average.
BIG TEN STANDINGS
The Hawkeyes passed Penn State for No. 6 in the conference. Individually, senior Emma Stevenson ranks No. 9 on floor with a 9.845 average. In the Big Ten all-around, Glover is No. 14, averaging 38.825.
Five of the eight Big Ten teams (No. 3 Michigan, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 19 Ohio State and No. 21 Illinois) are nationally-ranked in the top 25. Michigan leads the conference on bars (49.242), beam (49.138) and floor (49.300), while Nebraska averages the top score on vault (49.195).
IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Iowa shares the No. 14 spot on bars with Stanford and Kent State, averaging 48.900. The Hawkeyes improved to No. 15 on the floor (48.935), with senior Emma Stevenson ranked No. 42 and freshman Kyra Trowbridge tied for No. 50 with UCLA freshman Dana McDonald and Bridgeport sophomore Sasha Tsikhanovich.
The rankings, which are determined by season scoring average, are released every Monday. The rankings will switch over to Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) on Monday, Feb. 25.
HAWKEYES ON BTN
The Iowa gymnastics team will host No. 13 Minnesota on Friday, Feb. 22. The event will be aired on the Big Ten Network on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. CT. Other meets scheduled to be shown on the Big Ten Network include Penn State at Nebraska (Feb. 10), Ohio State at Michigan State (Feb. 16), and the Big Ten Championships (Mar. 23).
The Hawkeyes have increased their team score dramatically since scoring a 193.375 in the home opener against Ball State (1/11). Iowa tallied a 194.200 at Ohio State (1/19), before finding the 195 range at Penn State (1/26) with a 195.325, and at Michigan (2/2) with a 195.200. The Hawkeyes earned their season-best last Friday (195.875) against Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago.
Freshman Alyssa Lopez and sophomore Jessica Morreale trained together at Energym in Dekalb, Ill. Both were coached by Morreale's father, Andy Morreale.
The majority of GymHawks are underclassmen, with six freshmen, four sophomores and three seniors. There are no juniors. Seventeen of Iowa's 24 routines are contributed by underclassmen (nine by sophomores and eight by freshmen). Freshman Alie Glover is the only Hawkeye to compete four events in every competition and is ranked in the top 100 nationally in the all-around (No. 74).
HEAD COACH Larissa Libby
Entering her ninth year as head coach of the Hawkeyes, Libby has her eyes set on a sixth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance, the seventh in her tenure. In 2012, the Hawkeyes finished the season ranked 26th nationally, the highest finish since 2004. Libby coached Tesla Cox to second team All-Big Ten honors and Emma Stevenson to the Big Ten All-Championship Team. The Hawkeyes hosted the Big Ten Championships, drawing a season-high attendance figure of 1,661. Stevenson scored a 9.875 on the floor exercise, and Iowa finished seventh as a team. Libby led the Hawkeyes to a fifth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. Iowa posted 194.600 and finished fifth at the Seattle Regional.
The GymHawks will return home to face Minnesota on Friday, Feb. 22. Action is slated to start at 7 p.m. (CT) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The dual meet will be aired on the Big Ten Network on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m. CT.
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