By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
You get the idea that Baylor acrobatics and tumbling coach Felecia Mulkey could look at da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and pick out the flaws.
In a rematch of the last three NCATA national championships, the three-time defending national champion Bears (4-0) won five of the six events, tied in the other and defeated No. 2 Oregon by a comfortable margin (284.725-280.830) Saturday night before a Ferrell Center and NCATA-record crowd of 2,346.
And while Mulkey was "really proud of what they did today," she also sees room for improvement in every area.
"As we continue to get mentally stronger, you're going to see a stronger team on the mat, too, and bigger skills," said Mulkey, who improved to 34-1 in four years at Baylor and 9-1 against the Oregon team she led to the first four NCATA national championships. "So, you'll see a better team, if I have anything to do with it, when you see us at home against Fairmont (March 12)."
Trading perfect 10.0 scores - Oregon in the pyramid heat and Baylor in toss - both teams got out to a strong start in the compulsory event with the Bears holding a slight edge, 39.40-39.20. Scoring no lower than 9.85 in any of the next six heats, Baylor also won the acro and pyramid events and held a 98.85-97.40 lead going into the break.
"This was by far our best meet," Mulkey said. "We have so much room for improvement, but I'm really proud of what they did today. And I think our team knows that, they're hungry. We talked about it right before it was over, let's go back to work on Monday. They did some things today better than they have all season. I'm proud of our compulsory event, our pyramid event. We're getting there."
After tying in the toss event, 29.35-29.35, Baylor won all six heats and extended its lead with nearly a 2.2-point edge in the tumbling event, 57.725-55.550.
Highlights included a 9.7 score in the duo pass by Lauren Sturm and Kaylee Adams, a 9.825 by Sturn in the open pass, a 9.85 aerial pass by Bailey Hollier and a crowd-pleasing 9.95 by Adams in the six-element pass.
Walking off the mat after a slight side step at the end of her routine, Adams shrugged her shoulders and asked Mulkey, "Was that good?"
"The only thing she did wrong, and we'll see that when we get the deductions, but she stepped to the side," Mulkey said. "I called it her drunk step, she stepped to the side. I would bet they gave a .05 (deduction) on extra movement, probably, on landing. Take that movement out, and she would have scored a 10."
Adams, a former cheerleader and pole vaulter at nearby China Spring High School, said her pass "felt incredible."
"I had a little wobble at the end. I always just ask my coaches what their opinion was on the skill, any way I can improve. So, I was like, `Is there anything else I need to do?'''
Baylor had a few mistakes, but left no doubt in the closing team event, outscoring the Ducks, 98.75-98.53.
"They're a great team," Mulkey said of Oregon, which fell to 2-1. "Any time we meet, it's super high energy. They made some uncharacteristic mistakes today, in my opinion, that they don't usually make. And that opened the door a little bit. But every time we compete, we all just rise to the occasion. Whether it's here or in Eugene or wherever, it's just fun."
Of the record crowd, Mulkey said, "That was fantastic, and it was electric. Our facilities, or whoever runs all of it, they did such a great job keeping it going. They were all the way to rafters. That was awesome."
Baylor, which has won its last 12 meets after losing at Oregon last year, will go back on the road to face Converse at 5 p.m. March 7 in Spartanburg, S.C., before returning home for the March 12 matchup against Fairmont State.
WACO, Texas - The top-ranked and three-time defending national champion Baylor acrobatics & tumbling team (4-0) took down the second-ranked Oregon Ducks (2-1), 284.725-280.830, on Saturday night at the Ferrell Center.
The Bears and Ducks both got off to strong starts in the compulsory event, with the Bears holding a 39.40-39.20 lead. The Bears took the acro and pyramid events to take a 98.85-97.40 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Bears tied the Ducks in the toss event, 29.35-29.35, before the Bears won the tumbling event, 57.725-55.550. In the final event, the Bears solidified their victory with a 100.78-97.53 win in the team event, bringing the final score to 284.725-280.830.
o Baylor is now 34-1 under head coach Felecia Mulkey.
o Baylor has now won its last 12 meets dating back to last season.
o The Bears won five of six events: compulsory, acro, pyramid, tumbling, and team.
o A team of 11 Bears scored a 10.0 in heat three of the compulsory event, the first 10.0 for the Bears this season.
o Kaylee Adams scored a 9.95 on her six element pass of the tumbling event.
o The Bears scored at least a 9.90 in all three pyramid events.
STAT OF THE DAY
o The attendance total of 2,346 broke a Baylor and NCATA record.
"This was by far our best meet. We have room for improvement, but I'm really proud of what we did today. I think our team knows that. They are hungry and we'll get back to work on Monday." - Head coach Felecia Mulkey
The Bears will travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina, for a matchup against the Converse Valkyries (2-0) on Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. CT. For tickets to home events, visit: http://www.baylorbears.com/tickets/. For updates on the program follow @BaylorAcroTumb on Twitter and Instagram and @BaylorAcrobaticsandTumbling on Facebook.