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Michigan State women's gymnastics defeats No. 20 Iowa in home opener

January 29, 2024
<p>All-Around junior Gabrielle Stephen completes her vault during a match against University of Iowa at Jenison Field House on Jan. 28, 2024. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes with a score of 197.400-195.700.</p>

All-Around junior Gabrielle Stephen completes her vault during a match against University of Iowa at Jenison Field House on Jan. 28, 2024. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes with a score of 197.400-195.700.

Michigan State women's gymnastics, ranked No. 14 in the country, defeated No. 20 Iowa 197.400-195.700 in a Sunday afternoon meet at Jenison Field House, moving to an overall 5-3 record and 2-0 in the Big Ten conference. 

Michigan State’s first rotation against Iowa was on the vault, and the Spartans started off strong. The six person lineup tallied a score of 49.375. Junior Gabrielle Stephen finished her vault with a high score of 9.925 after going high in the air and sticking her landing. She ultimately won first place in the vault event.

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The Hawkeyes were on the uneven parallel bars for their first event and finished with a score of 48.900, just trailing the Spartans. The Spartans moved to their second rotation on the uneven parallel bars. The entire Michigan State lineup stayed on the bars and all six Spartans scored 9.800 or above to give a total score of 49.300 and a running score of 98.675.

Two Spartan gymnasts tied for first place on the uneven bars: junior Skyla Schulte and senior Delanie Harkness with top scores of 9.900.

Iowa moved onto vault with a great performance but fell short to the Spartans with a total score of 98.000.

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During the opening balance beam round for Michigan State, Stephen had a major wobble on the beam but remained standing and pulled out a score of 9.750. After a shaky start, Stephen continued on with her routine and stuck her landing.

Schulte had a great beam performance and made the crowd holler with excitement. She had a score of 9.900 and won first place. The Spartans recorded a running score of 147.775.

The Hawkeyes third rotation began on the floor. Iowa had some stuck landings, but the floor routines had major mistakes. Iowa continued to stay behind MSU with a running score of 146.925, a nail-biting performance going into the final rotation.

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The final rotation for the Spartans started on the floor where sophomore Nikki Smith had a standout performance with a fantastic score of 10.000, sending the crowd into a frenzy. This is only Michigan State's second perfect score of the season. Smith showed so much personality and had the attendees give her a standing ovation. She was the only gymnast of the match to have a perfect score in an event.

The remaining Spartans had great performances on the floor and each scored above 9.800. The Spartans made sure to solidify their win on this last rotation. Iowa finished up its final rotation on the balance beam but they could not overpower the Spartans, scoring 48.925 against Michigan State's 49.625. 

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Overall, Michigan State had a final score of 197.400 and defeated Iowa who finished with 195.700. Michigan State also defeated Iowa in each category, continuously adding to its dominating win. 

After the completion of all four events, Schulte received all-around champion with a score of 39.600.

Michigan State women's gymnastics are heading to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines next Sunday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. Streaming will be available on Fox Sports. 

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