Women's Gymnastics
Strong Team Effort Propels PSU Over Illini

Strong Team Effort Propels PSU Over Illini - 2/13/99

The University of Illinois women's gymnastics team posted its highest score of the season but was unable to outscore a strong team effort from visiting Penn State, a team that has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation. The Illini dropped a 195.175-193.750 decision to the Nittany Lions at Huff Hall Saturday night, in Champaign, Ill.

Illini sophomore Carissa Ericson (Rolling Meadows, Ill.) set a new Illinois school record in the floor event scoring a 9.925. The mark is .025 better than the previous best set on three separate occasions.

"That was excellent," head coach Lynn Brueckman said. "I was so happy for her. That was her best performance and she deserved that score."

The Illini posted season team-high scores in three of the four events, faltering in what is usually the squad's best event, the beam.

"We had a few mistakes tonight," Brueckman said "To compete with the top teams in the country we can't do that. But we did our job on the other three events and this score will help with our goal of reaching regionals. Overall I'm pleased with tonight's performance. If we would have hit on beam, we had a good chance of beating them. I think that's something the will carry these guys through the rest of the season that we were that close to beating them"

Illini sophomore Phaedra Dixon (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) was the Illini's top finisher in the all-around posting a 39.125 mark which was good for third overall. That score marks the second time this season the sophomore has eclipsed the 39-point mark. Dixon tied for the top spot on bars scoring a 9.875. Senior Kim Berres (Plymouth, Mich.) took first-place honors on the balance beam with a score of 9.875 and second on floor with a score of 9.900.

The Fighting Illini (4-4 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) will be back in action on Sunday, February 21, traveling to Cape Girardeau, Mo., for a dual with Southeast Missouri State.