Sunday Jan 9 / 1:45 p.m. CT / Norman, Okla. / Lloyd Noble Center
NORMAN – The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team is set to kick off the 2022 season at home against the Alabama No.6 on Sunday. The encounter will air on ESPN at 1:45 p.m. CT. This is only the second time since 2017 that the Sooners have opened their home season at Lloyd Noble Center. OU opened the 2021 season at home against Arizona State, beating the Sun Devils 197.450-194.725.
A trio of former Olympians will be on the call for ESPN with the great OU Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson-Clarke alongside Samantha Peszek.
NOTES AND NUMBERS FOR MEET ONE
The new squad includes 14 ghosts and six newcomers who are all eagerly awaiting the start of a new season. Under the head coach KJ Kindler, OU is 14-3 all-time in its first game of the season. The Sooners haven’t lost a season opener since 2016.
HOME SWEET HOME
OU has been at 120-4 inside Lloyd Noble Center since Head Coach arrived KJ Kindler in 2007. The Sooners have recorded 59 straight wins since 2014 and the 2022 senior class has never lost a home meeting in their career.
The Sooners will be home for five fixtures in 2022, three of which will air on the ESPN family of networks. Following the season opener against Alabama, OU will host reigning Big 12 champion Denver on January 30 on ESPN. The March 4 senior night against Michigan will air on ESPN2. OU will also welcome TWU (February 4) and George Washington (February 11) to the LNC.
The Sooners and Crimson Tide have faced each other every year since KJ Kindler‘s in 2007. Under Kindler, the Sooners are 20-10 against Alabama and have won 16 straight games since the 2013 Super Six. In 2021, the teams met twice in the playoffs, Alabama hosting the regionals and qualifying for the semi-finals with the Sooners. Alabama had won every regional they’ve hosted in program history, but the Sooners ended that reign with a victory in the 2021 Tuscaloosa Regional.
PRESASON NO. 3
The Sooners placed No. 3 in the WCGA Preseason Coaches Poll. This is the 12th consecutive season in which the Sooners have placed the top five nationally to start the year and the eighth consecutive time have placed in the top three. OU was the # 1 team in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020, # 2 in 2015, 2019 and 2021, # 3 in 2014 and # 4 in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Oklahoma has now opened 17 straight seasons in the top 10 nationally and the past 20 years in the top 25. Since head coach KJ KindlerUpon arriving in 2007, the Sooners were ranked in the top 10 of the preseason every year.
A total of 10 of OU’s regular season opponents are ranked in the poll, including three teams in the top 5 and five in the top 10 and seven in the top 25. The Sooners will host three top 10 teams at Lloyd Noble. Center with Michigan’s No. 1. , No. 6 Alabama and No. 10 Denver making the trip to Norman.
KINDLER VS. THE SECOND
The Head Coach KJ Kindler has proven that the Sooners are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fighting their enemies in the SEC. Soon, these teams will compete in an annual competition, as Oklahoma is expected to join the SEC for the 2025-26 competitive seasons. OU will face just two SEC teams in the regular season in Alabama and Florida (February 25). In 16 seasons, Kindler is 56-8 against the SEC and hasn’t lost to an SEC nemesis since 2018, when the Sooners visited Florida.
A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN
The Head Coach KJ Kindler is still in a league of its own in 2022 as the only coach in NCAA history to feature two different programs in the NCAA Finals. In 2006, Kindler’s Iowa State qualified for the Super Six. Kindler guided 10 OU teams to the NCAA Finals in his 16 years as a head coach.
Until last season, Kindler was also the only active head coach to win a national championship. Michigan’s Bev Plocki won his first with the Wolverines in 2021 and the two are the only active coaches with a title.
COME BACK FOR MORE
Elders Carly woodard and Karrie thomas decided in the offseason to return for a fifth and final year to Oklahoma. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, athletes have been granted an additional year of eligibility. Thomas and Woodard both took advantage of the opportunity and their routines will strengthen the OU rosters.
Woodard will compete for the Sooners for an unprecedented fifth season, while Thomas will compete for a fourth season after being transferred from Maryland. Woodard is an All-American on beam and was the 2019 Athens Regional Beam Champion. Thomas is an All-American in bars and was the Big 12 Events Specialist for 2021.
TO COME UP
The most anticipated game of the 2022 season will be inside the Lloyd Noble Center when the 2021 NCAA Champions Michigan Wolverines come to Norman. In a rematch of the 2021 NCAA Championships, the Sooners and Wolverines meet on Friday, March 4. The Sooners will have other exciting games in the CNL, including the season opener on Sunday, Jan. 9, as they host Alabama in Norman. The Sooners and Crimson Tide met twice in 2021 with OU defeating Alabama at Tuscaloosa Regional and giving Tide their first regional home loss in program history.
In a rematch of the 2021 Big 12 Championship, defending champion Denver will return to the LNC on Sunday, January 30. Other home fixtures include a February 4 game with Texas Woman’s University and a February 11 game against George Washington.
The Sooners will face a series of tough opponents on the road in 2022. First, a pair of Pac-12 battles with the Sooners traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah and Tucson, Arizona. OU and Utah will face off. inside the Huntsman Center for the first time since 1992 on Friday January 14. The following week, the Sooners will travel to Arizona for a triple encounter with the Wildcats and Stanford.
OU will look to defend their title at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday, February 19. The Sooners will face a strong field comprising Denver, Stanford and Washington and have their first chance to compete on the podium ahead of the national championships. For the first time since 2018, the Sooners will travel to Gainesville, Fla. On February 25 to face the Florida Ga
- OU was ranked No. 3 in the WCGA Preseason Coaches Poll, the seventh consecutive season the Sooners were ranked in the top three to start the year.
- 10 of OU’s regular season opponents are ranked in the poll, including three teams in the top 5 and five in the top 10 and seven in the top 25.
- Oklahoma’s roster this season includes 14 returning gymnasts from the 2021 squad, including four who combined for nine All-America senior honors Olivia trautman and Allie stern, junior Ragan smith and second Audrey davis.
- The Sooners will be featured on ESPN five times during the regular season: vs. Alabama (Jan. 9), Utah (Jan. 14), vs. Denver (Jan. 30), vs. Michgan (March 4), at Championship Big 12 (March 19).
The reigning SEC champions enter the 2022 season in 6th place after finishing in fifth place at the 2021 NCAA Championships. Alabama returns 22 of its 24 routines starting in 2021, including all rosters jump and uneven bars. The Crimson Tide has a pair of individual champions from 2021 in Luisa Blanco (beam) and Lexi Graber (floor exercise). The 2022 lineup features four All-Americans who combined for 15 honors to Blanco, Graber, Makarri Doggette and Shallon Olsen. Dana Duckworth is in her eighth season as a head coach and her 27th with the Tide, including four years as a gymnast, nine as a volunteer coach and six as an assistant coach. Alabama is one of seven teams to win NCAA championships in 2012, 2011, 2002, 1996, 1991 and 1988.
Season tickets for the 2022 season are currently available for purchase. Tickets are available at a cost of $ 40 for general admission and $ 60 for reserved seats, which will allow a location to be reserved for the entire season. Season tickets for youth (6-18) and seniors (55+) will be $ 30. Discounted tickets are available for $ 5 for groups of 10 or more. Group tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours before the event. Fans can order online through SoonerSports.com or by phone at (405) 325-2424 or toll free at 800-456-GoOU.
MEET THE POLICIES OF THE DAY
Appropriate fabric or surgical-style masks that cover the nose and mouth are strongly encouraged. OU will continue its transparent bag policy this season. The approved size of the clear plastic tote is a maximum of 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches or one gallon clear plastic freezer bag. Even these bags are subject to search.
The doors of the arena will open to the public one (1) hour before departure. The general public can use the north and east entrances. Full details on OU game day policies at Lloyd Noble Center can be found here.
The Sooners will head to Salt Lake City for another top-10 clash at No. 4 Utah. OU and Utah will face off on Friday, January 14 at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.