Columbus, Ohio - The No. 6 Nebraska women's gymnastics team held off a late surge by the No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes to earn a 196.150-195.975 win on Friday night in Columbus. The Huskers (2-1, 2-1 Big Ten) used several key performances early and a clutch performance on beam to stave off the Buckeyes (2-2, 1-1 Big Ten).
"We had a few uncharacteristic things that hurt us early," Head Coach Dan Kendig said. "There was some nervousness and some little landings that hurt a bit, and that allowed Ohio State to get back in the meet. Beam was the hero again tonight. We needed all five of our final routines to hit, and the girls did. The team knew we were in a battle, and with the pressure on, the girls still hit routines on beam. That was huge."
The Huskers were led by big performances from upperclassmen Janelle Giblin, Brittany Skinner and Emily Wong. Giblin paved the way for Nebraska, hitting an early 9.90 on bars to secure the event title for the returning All-American. The senior added a key 9.825 late on beam to finish fifth and help the Huskers to victory. Giblin also tied for third on vault with teammate Jessie DeZiel at 9.875. Skinner tied for the vault title, posting a 9.925 to help the Huskers to their highest vault score this season. Wong added a solid performance for the Huskers, taking second on beam (9.90) and bars (9.875).
Nebraska began the evening on bars, scoring a 49.025. The Huskers got progressively stronger with each competitor on the event, beginning with DeZiel's 9.80 on the evening. Wong continued the uptick in scoring, adding a 9.875 on another solid performance. NU's lineup culminated in a stellar performance from returning All-American Giblin, who hit her most complete bars routine this season to earn a 9.90.
The Buckeyes picked up a 49.050 on vault in their first rotation, led by a 9.925 from Sarah Miller. After one event, Ohio State narrowly led Nebraska by a score of 49.050-49.025.
The Big Red moved to vault in their second rotation, earning their highest score on the event this season at 49.300. Nebraska was led by senior Brittany Skinner, who announced her return to the lineup with a big 9.925. DeZiel and Giblin added identical marks of 9.875, and Jennifer Lauer earned a 9.825.
Ohio State struggled on bars in the second rotation, picking up a 48.675. Nebraska stole the lead from OSU after two events, taking a 98.325-97.725 advantage that they would not surrender for the remainder of the meet.
The Huskers took to floor in their second-to-last rotation, battling their way to a 48.800. Wong paced the Huskers with a 9.875, while freshman Hollie Blanske earned a 9.775. Jamie Schleppenbach returned to the NU lineup after resting last week, picking up a 9.725. Jennifer Lauer also captured a 9.725 for the Huskers.
Ohio State posted a 49.075 on beam in their third rotation, paced by Sarah Miller's 9.95. With only rotation remaining, the Huskers held a 147.125-146.800 lead over the Buckeyes.
Nebraska moved to beam needing a solid performance to secure their victory. NU's nationally-ranked beam squad delievered a clutch effort, earning a team mark of 49.025. Steady performances by Wong (9.90), Lauer (9.85) and Giblin (9.825) proved key in the Huskers' efforts to defeat the Buckeyes.
OSU posted a 49.175 in their final rotation on floor, but it wouldn't be enough to overcome the Big Red. Nebraska finished with a 196.150, edging by the Buckeyes' score of 195.975 and earning their second win of the season.
Nebraska will return to Lincoln next weekend to kick off a two-week home stand, welcoming Illinois to the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Friday, Feb. 1. The match is slated for a 6 p.m. CST start. Fans can purchase tickets online at Huskers.com or by calling the Nebraska Ticket Office at 1-800-8BIGRED.