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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind strong performances from sophomore Colleen Dean and freshmen Melanie Shaffer and Sarah Miller, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team opened 2011 with a 194.475-193.925 win over No. 23 Minnesota Saturday afternoon at St. John Arena.

“This was about what I expected for today,” head coach Carey Fagan said. “A couple of girls actually performed better than what I expected so overall I’m happy with this for the start of the season. The score was a little closer than I would have liked but we made a few mistakes on floor at the end. It’s a great score to start the season and build off of.”

The Buckeyes started the night on vault, tallying a 48.750, receiving high scores from Shaffer, Rebecca Best, Taylor Jones and Sarah Miller. Shaffer, a freshman from Pittsburgh, Pa., posted a 9.775 while Best, Jones and Miller each recorded scores of a 9.750. Despite a strong performance from Minnesota freshman Kayla Slechta to take first on vault with a 9.825, Ohio State took the win after the Golden Gophers posted a team total of 48.275.

Best led the Scarlet Gray on uneven bars, scoring a 9.800 to match her 2010 season high. Following Best were Dean and Casey Williamson, scoring a 9.775 and 9.725, respectively. Alex DeLuca and Jones followed with a pair of 9.700 scores, giving the team a total of 48.700 for the event. Best tied with Minnesota’s Kristin Furukawa for first place on bars but the Golden Gophers tallied a 48.775 to edge the Buckeyes.

After the halfway point, Ohio State held a narrow 97.450-97.050 advantage on the Golden Gophers.

Paced by Millerand Dean, the Buckeyes topped Minnesota 48.740-48.250. Miller, from Collegeville, Pa., led the Buckeyes and took first place with a 9.875 while Dean posted a 9.825. Dusti Russell tied Dean for second with a 9.825 for the Golden Gophers.

Ohio State continued their pace on floor scoring a 48.300, led by Dean with a 9.825. The freshman pair of Miller and Shaffer were not far behind scoring a 9.80 to round out the top three on floor. Victoria Aepli and Miranda Der finished out the Buckeye score. Minnesota topped Ohio State on floor with a 48.625.

Up next, the Buckeyes travel to Corvallis, Ore., Jan. 14 for a 10 p.m. ET meet against No. 8 Oregon State.