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Buckeyes score third-consecutive 194.000 or better team total

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Despite a strong effort on the road, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team could not upset No. 13 and Big Ten Conference foe Illinois in Champaign, Ill., falling, 196.300-194.700, Saturday afternoon in Huff Hall.

After two rotations, less than half a point separated the two conference rivals but the Illini posted a 49.175 on beam and a 49.075 on floor to distance themselves from the Buckeyes. After posting back-to-back wins vs. UIC and Penn State, Ohio State falls to 3-7 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten.

With a tight matchup on vault, the Illini just edged OSU, 48.825-48.775, in the first rotation. Sophomore Nicole Krauter scored a team-best 9.800 on vault to place second, just .050 out of first, while classmate Taylor Jones added a 9.775 to tie for third. Junior Rebecca Best added a 9.750 and sophomore Casey Williamson contributed a 9.725 to the Buckeyes’ event total.

Ohio State saw both senior Kristin Perchatsch and Jones hit a season-best 9.800s on bars, but the high marks would tie for fourth after Illinois had three gymnasts sweep the event en route to a 49.225 total. Senior captain Hillary Dow and freshman Colleen Dean scored a pair of 9.750s to help the Buckeyes to a 48.800 bars total, keeping the squad within half a point of its competitor. OSU’s 48.800 on bars was just .050 off from tying the team’s 2010 event high.

The Buckeyes notched a season-best 48.825 event total on beam but it was not enough to outdo the Illini who had a 49.175. With a season-best 9.825, Best led Ohio State, placing fourth on the event. Jones and Perchatsch also hit season-highs, contributing a 9.800 and 9.750, respectively. Krauter ended in a tie for eighth with Perchatsch also scoring a 9.750. Illinois swept first-place with three student-athletes all scoring a 9.850.

On floor, Best and Dean tied fifth with a pair of 9.775s as the Buckeyes dropped the rotation to the Illini, 49.075-48.300. Again, Illinois had gymnasts place in the Top 3 on the event to secure the conference victory. For Ohio State, Krauter added a 9.675 and Perchatsch a 9.600 to round out the squad’s score on floor.

In the all-around, Best scored a team-best 39.050, just .050 shy of her season high, to tie for fourth while Williamson had a 37.925.

The Buckeyes return home to St. John Arena to host nonconference opponent Auburn at 4 p.m. March 13. The meet will be Senior Night for Ohio State’s Beth Ann Ballard, Dow and Perchatsch. It also is the final regular-season meet before the Buckeyes host the 2010 Big Ten Championships at 2 p.m. March 27 in St. John Arena.