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    Giana O'Connor Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week
    Giana O'Connor picks up the first weekly award for the Illini this season, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

    Giana O'Connor picks up the first weekly award for the Illini this season, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

    Feb. 4, 2013

    Big Ten Release

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Earlier this afternoon, the Big Ten named University of Illinois gymnast Giana O'Connor Freshman of the Week for her performance against then No. 7 Nebraska. This marks O'Connor's first conference recognition and first weekly award of her young collegiate career and the first for the Orange and Blue this season.

    O'Connor picked up the third Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor in Illini history and becomes the second gymnast to do so in the award's short existence. Current junior Amber See became the first on Feb. 21, 2011 and earned the award again just two weeks later. 

    O'Connor finished in second place in the all-around competition with a score of 39.050 in the dual meet against the Cornhuskers. The Streamwood native also placed in the top-10 in every event , including a fifth-place showing on balance beam (9.750) and floor exercise (9.775), sixth on vault (9.800) and ninth on bars (9.725). 

    With four meets under her belt, O'Connor now ranks 61st in the country in the all-around with an average of 38.906. The freshman's best event so far has been the balance beam, where she ranks 35th with a 9.819 average. In addition, O'Connor has posted a career high of 9.850 on both the balance beam and floor exercise in her first home meet against Michigan State.

    Meanwhile, the Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team is ranked 22nd in the nation. Illinois has a team average score of 194.931 with a season high of 196.125 set against the Spartans. Fans can follow Giana O'Connor and the rest of the Illini this Saturday, Feb. 9, when they take on Big Ten foe No. 13 Minnesota at 4 p.m. CT at Minneapolis. Then catch Illinois in action at home, Feb. 16, when they host No. 30 Iowa for their annual Gym Jam at 4 p.m. CT.

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