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Buckeyes have just two duals remaining before hosting Big Ten Championships

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a slow start to the season because of numerous injuries, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team has made a breakthrough, scoring better than a 194.000 is the last two meets.

Now, the Buckeyes face their last Big Ten opponent before the conference championships, meeting No. 13 Illinois for a 3 p.m. EST dual Saturday in Champaign. The Big Ten Network will be on hand for the event and will air the meet on a taped delay basis at 11 a.m. March 13 with play-by-play from Mike Leiderman and analysis from Elise Ray.

FOLLOW IT LIVE
Live scoring for Ohio State’s meet vs. Illinois can be found on the women’s gymnastics’ schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and FightingIllini.com.

ADMISSION IS FREE
Admission for all regular-season Ohio State home gymnastics meets in St. John Arena is free of charge. The Buckeyes will hold just one more regular-season meet, a dual vs. Auburn at 4 p.m. March 13, before hosting the 2010 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships at 2 p.m. March 27.

GOING TO THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tickets for the all-conference meet are currently on sale. All seating in St. John Arena will be general admission with tickets starting at $8 for adults, $5 for students and youth and $4 for groups of 10 or more. All group tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information, contact Mike Johnson in the group sales office at 614-247-1984.

Tickets can be purchased online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com (click on “Shop” along the top bar for links and then click on tickets, single game tickets through Ticketmaster), by calling Ticketmaster (1-800-745-3000) or in person at any Ticketmaster outlet or the Ohio State Ticket Office.

HOME FLOOR ADVANTAGE
With strong performances from senior Hillary Dow, sophomore Casey Williamson and freshman Colleen Dean, Ohio State earned its first Big Ten win of the season last Saturday, downing then-No. 14 Penn State, 194.950-193.850, in St. John Arena.

Williamson took third in the all-around, finishing with a career-best 39.150 while Dow was fourth with a 39.050. Dean, who has championed the Buckeyes on floor all season, finished second on the event with a 9.825 and also finished second with a 9.750 on bars.

Ohio State is 5-1-1 against PSU in St. John Arena during the regular season since the 1996-97 season.

BUILDING STEAM
Ohio State put on a show Feb. 21, recording 10 individual season highs and three team bests en route to a season-best team total of 195.025 as it defeated UIC (191.750) in St. John Arena before a crowd of 577.

Senior captain Hillary Dow won the all-around with a 39.000 behind a first-place finish on vault (9.875) and fourth-place finish on bars (9.750). Freshman Colleen Dean had a huge night, notching her first career 9.900 on floor, taking first on the event. The Sylvania, Ohio, native also tied for first with a personal-best 9.800 on bars. Competing on bars for the first time this season, senior Kristin Perchatsch notched a 9.775 for third.

The Buckeyes swept first thru third on three of the four events, notching season-high event tallies on bars (48.850), beam (48.625) and floor (48.875).

DOUBLE TIME
The Buckeyes accomplished a lot vs. UIC after competing against then-No. 14 Kentucky in Lexington Feb. 19. Ohio State scored a 193.975 in a hostile environment, its second-best score on the road this season.

“Sometimes those two-meet weekends help out,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “It is tough physically but sometimes it helps out mentally because any mistakes from the first competition are fresh and easier to focus on.”

Junior Rebecca Best nearly tied her career high in the all-around, scoring a 39.100, just .025 points out of first place at the dual. The Buckeyes also returned sophomores Taylor Jones and Nicole Krauter to the all-around, giving OSU five all-arounders. Jones had 9.675s on vault, bars and beam while hitting a 9.725 on floor. Competing on floor for the first time this season, Krauter scored a 9.700 vs. Kentucky before raising her season high to a 9.775 vs. UIC.

THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State returns to the road for a conference dual at Illinois at 3 p.m. EST Saturday which will be televised by the Big Ten Network on a tape delayed basis. Heading into the weekend, the Buckeyes own a 193.840 regional qualifying score (RQS) which ranks them sixth in the Big Ten and eighth in the Central Region.

THE SERIES: OHIO STATE-ILLINOIS
Ohio State edges Illinois, 13-10, in the all-time series record. In the past eight meetings, the Buckeyes and Illini have traded wins and losses and are tied at 4-all. This is the third meeting in a row between the two programs in Champaign, with Illinois earning the win in 2009 (196.700-195.675) and Ohio State stealing a victory in 2008 (193.450-193.125).

LEADING THE WAY
Individually, three different Buckeyes lead Ohio State on the four events. Senior captain Hillary Dow keeps improving her RQS on vault to rank 10th with a 9.805 in the Big Ten and 17th in the Central Region. On bars and beam, junior Rebecca Best owns team-highs with a 9.745 RQS on both events. Best is ranked 19th on bars and 13th on beam in the conference.

On floor, freshman Colleen Dean leads Ohio State with its highest individual ranking, holding eighth on the event in the Big Ten and 12th regionally with a 9.810 RQS.

The Buckeyes have three talented all-arounders in the Big Ten rankings, starting with Dow in 10th with a 38.795 RQS. Best is not far behind with a 38.670 for 13th while sophomore Casey Williamson is 16th with an RQS of 38.520.

ABOUT OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes returned eight gymnasts from the 2009 squad that finished ranked 17th in the GymInfo national rankings with a 195.735 RQS. However, Ohio State has lost the service of senior Beth Ann Ballard and sophomore Krissi Woodward for the season because of injury. In addition, freshmen Sarah Gillespie and Vanessa Kowis are sidelined with injuries, while classmate Lauren Ritter is slowly working her way back from a serious injury sustained her senior high school season.

The Buckeyes have been fighting their way through injuries but with three solid marks from the last two weekends, the squad now owns a 193.840 RQS to ranked sixth in the Big Ten. Ohio State hit a season-high 195.025 vs. UIC in St. John Arena Feb. 21.  

POSTSEASON IN COLUMBUS!
The Scarlet and Gray are thrilled to bring the 2010 Big Ten Conference Championships to St. John Arena for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Head coach Carey Fagan is excited to host the league meet March 27 after hosting the NCAA regional championships last year.

“The regional championship was a great dress rehearsal for hosting the 2010 Big Ten Championships in Columbus,” Fagan said. “The conference championships are a big deal so I think it will attract even more attention than the regional championship did a season ago so the atmosphere will be electric.”

For tickets, call 1-800-GO-BUCKS!

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes then return home to close out the regular season with Senior Day against Auburn at 2 p.m. March 13.