B1G Five Meet
No. 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-3, 4-1 Big Ten)
at No. 19 Illinois Fighting Illini (14-4-1, 3-2 Big Ten)
with Maryland Terrapins (15-11, 1-4 Big Ten),
Michigan State Spartans (6-8, 0-5 Big Ten),
No. 24 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-4, 3-2 Big Ten)
Saturday, March 11, 2 p.m. (CT) – Champaign, Ill. (State Farm Center)
NU Travels to Illinois for B1G Five Meet
The 13th-ranked Nebraska women’s gymnastics team returns to action this Saturday to compete for a Big Ten regular-season championship at the B1G Five meet at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. The Cornhuskers are set to face off with No. 19 Illinois, No. 24 Ohio State, Maryland and Michigan State at 2 p.m., and the meet will be televised on BTN and streamed on BTN2Go with Bernie Guenther and Sharaya Musser on the call.
Nebraska (13-3, 4-1 Big Ten) is tied for first in the conference and could clinch the Big Ten regular-season championship at the meet. Iowa and Michigan also enter the B1G Five weekend with 4-1 conference records, and will join Minnesota, Penn State and Rutgers at the other B1G Five meet in Iowa City, Iowa. The meets also serve as qualifiers to the Big Ten Championships, as the top three finishers at each B1G Five meet will be seeded into the 4 p.m. session at next week’s championships, while the bottom two finishers from each meet will compete in the 11 a.m. session.
NU enters Saturday following a first-place finish with a season-high score of 197.175 two weeks ago at the Masters Classic against California, Utah State and Southeast Missouri. Taylor Houchin had a career night, setting a Nebraska freshman record with a 39.650 to win the all-around crown. She set or tied career highs in all five events, and picked up four event titles at the meet.
The Huskers come into the meet with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 196.450. In the latest Road to Nationals rankings released Monday, the Huskers rank in the top-10 on bars and floor, coming in at ninth on bars with an RQS of 49.230 and 10th on floor with a score of 49.240.
Nebraska will begin the meet on a bye, before rotating to floor, vault, bars and beam. Live scores will be available at FightingIllini.com
Last Time Out
Nebraska finished first at the 27th-annual Masters Classic its last time out, defeating California, Utah State and Southeast Missouri with a season-high score of 197.175 two weeks ago at the Devaney Center. Taylor Houchin won four event titles, including the all-around title with a score of 39.650. Ashley Lambert won the bars title with a career-high 9.90 on Senior Night, while fellow senior Jennie Laeng tied a career high with a 9.925 to finish second on floor.
Houchin Etches Name in Nebraska Freshman Record Books
One week after tying a Nebraska freshman record with a 9.95 on floor exercise, Taylor Houchin again matched that record and set a new Nebraska freshman record with a score of 39.650 in the all-around at the Masters Classic. Her all-around score, which included career highs on all four events, bested the previous Nebraska freshman record that stood for over 16 years, a 39.625 by Alecia Ingram on Jan. 28, 2001. The score was the highest all-around score for Nebraska since Emily Wong scored a 39.650 on March 1, 2014.
Houchin Earns Pair of Big Ten Honors
Taylor Houchin was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week and Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Feb. 27 following her performance at the Masters Classic. In addition to her all-around title, Houchin also won vault with a career-high-tying 9.90, beam with a career-high 9.925 and floor with a career-high-tying 9.95. To round out her spectacular performance two weeks ago, she posted a career-high 9.875 on bars to finish second. Her honor marks Nebraska’s first Gymnast-of-the-Week honor since Hollie Blanske won the award on Jan. 25, 2016. The Freshman-of-the-Week honor was Houchin’s third of the season, as she also earned the award on Jan. 16 and Feb. 6. She is the first Nebraska gymnast to win both honors in the same week since Jessie DeZiel won both on Feb. 20, 2012.
Huskers Score Highest Team and Beam Scores at Masters Classic
Nebraska’s team score of 197.175 at the Masters Classic was a new season high, surpassing its score of 197.125 scored the week before at the GymQuarters Invitational. The Huskers also posted their highest beam score of the season, a 49.275 which bested a 49.225 scored on Feb. 11 at Minnesota.
Scouting the Field
No. 19 Illinois enters the meet with a record of 14-4-1 and 3-2 in Big Ten action following a first-place finish at the Illinois Classic with a score of 196.150 last Sunday. The Fighting Illini have an RQS of 196.135. Illinois is led by sophomore Lizzy LeDuc who holds the highest RQS for Illinois in the all-around, as well as on vault, beam and floor. The Illini are coached by Kim Landrus, who is in her sixth season as head coach.
Maryland is 15-11 on the season and 1-4 in Big Ten competition after a first-place finish in a five-team meet with a score of 195.800 last Wednesday. With an RQS of 195.410, the Terrapins rank 32nd in the nation. Freshman Kirsten Peterman leads Maryland with an RQS of 38.845 in the all-around, which ranks 62nd in the nation. Brett Nelligan is in his eighth season as the head coach of the program.
Michigan State is 6-8 on the season and 0-5 in Big Ten competition, as the Spartans come off a 195.600-193.600 win over Bowling Green on Sunday. MSU has an RQS of 194.915 on the year, which is 39th in the nation. Senior Nicola Deans leads Michigan State with an RQS of 39.135 in the all-around, which is tied for 31st in the country. Michigan State is led by interim head coach Mike Rowe.
No. 24 Ohio State comes into Saturday with a record of 7-4 on the season and 3-2 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are coming off a 197.150-195.475 loss at Denver on Saturday. OSU has an RQS of 195.815 on the season. Junior Alexis Mattern is 18th in the nation with an RQS of 39.300 in the all-around to lead the Buckeyes. Carey Fagan is in her 13th season at the helm of the Buckeyes.
Nebraska holds a combined 59-17 record against the four other teams competing at the B1G Five meet, including 30-2 since the Huskers joined the Big Ten before the 2012 season. NU is 21-4 all-time against Illinois, 8-0 against Maryland, 15-2 against Michigan State and 15-11 against Ohio State.
Last Year at the B1G Five Meet
The Huskers took first at last season’s B1G Five meet, scoring a 197.000 to defeat Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois and Maryland in Columbus, Ohio. Danielle Breen won the all-around title with a 39.475 and shared the beam title with Megan Schweihofer, as each posted scores of 9.925. Grace Williams won the bars title with a 9.875, while Jennie Laeng and Hollie Blanske shared the floor title with scores of 9.925.
NCAA Regional Tickets Now Available
Tickets for the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Lincoln Regional on Saturday, April 1 are available at the Nebraska Athletics Ticketing and Engagement Office. The meet is set to begin at 4 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tickets are $9 for reserved (B Level) seats, $7 for adult general admission (C Level) seats and $5 for general admission (C Level) seats for youth (high school and younger) and seniors (age 60+). The first 100 University of Nebraska-Lincoln students with a valid N-Card will get in free, after which students can be admitted for $5. Children under the age of 2 (23 months and younger) will get in free.
The Huskers will travel to the 2017 Big Ten Championships at Piscataway, N.J., next Saturday. The first session is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (CT), with the evening session set to start at 4 p.m. Both sessions will be televised on Big Ten Network and streamed live on BTN2Go. The top three finishers from each B1G Five Meet (at Illinois and at Iowa) will be seeded into the 4 p.m. session, while the bottom two finishers at the two meets will compete in the 11 a.m. session.