NO. 7 LSU KNOCKS OFF ARKANSAS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WIN
BATON ROUGE – Sarie Morrison stuck her vault for a perfect 10.0 and Rheagan Courville captured her fourth straight all-around title as the seventh-ranked LSU gymnastics team defeated No. 20 Arkansas, 196.825-195.625, Friday night in the Maravich Center.
LSU improved to 8-2 overall and 4-1 against SEC competition as the Tigers won their third straight meet of the season.
A lively crowd of 4,896, the sixth-largest crowd in LSU history, witnessed the Tigers’ victory against the Razorbacks.
Morrison recorded the first 10.0 of her career, and it marks the second 10 in as many weeks as Lloimincia Hall earned it on floor last week at Missouri.
It is the third time in school history that LSU has posted a 10 in back-to-back meets but the first time it has been accomplished by two different gymnasts. April Burkholder scored a 10 on floor on Feb. 20, 2004 in a home meet against Kentucky, and she earned a 10 on vault on Feb. 23, 2004 at Texas Woman’s. Jennifer Wood scored a 10 on vault three meets in a row in 1995 (Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 3).
Courville tallied her fourth-straight all-around crown with a 39.525, her second-best all-around total of her career.
LSU earned a 49.400 on vault, 49.325 on bars, 48.675 on beam and 49.425 on floor to reach 196.825 against the Razorbacks.
Arkansas (1-5, 0-5 SEC) finished with a 48.800 on vault, 48.875 on bars, 48.950 on beam and 49.000 on floor to score a 195.625.
“There was a lot of energy in the kids’ performances tonight, and we had tremendous support from a great crowd,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “The kids put too much pressure on themselves on beam, but they ended the meet well with strong routines on floor. Overall it was a solid effort, but we have to keep our focus on improving and perfecting our performances.”
LSU opened the meet with a 49.400 on vault for the second straight week. Morrison led the way with a 10, while Courville finished second with a 9.95. Kaleigh Dickson and Maliah Mathis each posted a 9.825 and Jessie Jordan and Jessica Savona scored a 9.80.
The Tigers scored a 49.325 on bars, the second-best team total in that event this season. Lloimincia Hall led off with a career-high tying 9.85, and Britney Ranzy followed with a season-high 9.80. Dickson and Courville tallied 9.875’s while Randii Wyrick recorded a 9.825 and Morrison anchored with a 9.90.
LSU scored a 48.675 on beam, counting 9.825’s from Courville and Dickson, a 9.75 from Ericka Garcia, a 9.675 from Hall and a 9.60 from Jordan.
The Tigers ended the meet with a 49.425 on floor. Jordan led off with a 9.85, and Dickson scored a 9.725 in the second spot. Savona earned a 9.90, her third 9.9 on floor in the last four meets, and Mathis tallied a 9.85. Courville scored a 9.875, and Hall anchored the event and brought the crowd to its feet with a 9.95 to close out the meet.
Morrison collected the bars title with a 9.90 to go along with the vault crown, winning titles in both events she competed. Hall won floor with a 9.95, and Arkansas’ Sydnie Dillard won beam with a 9.85.
Kentucky Gymnastics Edges Missouri
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 17th-ranked Kentucky gymnastics team dug deep on the final rotation to squeak out a 194.250-194.125 victory over Missouri on Friday inside Memorial Coliseum.
The Wildcats (5-3-1, 3-2-1 SEC) trailed Missouri (5-5-1, 3-2-1 SEC) by .725 entering the last act of the evening, but the hosts dug deep on floor exercise and mounted a late comeback.
Audrey Harrison was the lone all-around competitor posting a 39.3, which tied her career-high set last week. The junior also won balance beam, and shared the honors on uneven bars and floor exercise.
The Knoxville, Tenn., native now has 12 individual event honors this season and 19 in her career. Her five all-around wins in 2013 have all come against Southeastern Conference competition.
Shannon Mitchell tied Harrison for the floor title, her second of the season and the third of her career.
The Wildcats were on their way to a solid team score before stumbling on beam. With their backs against the wall for the second consecutive meet, the Wildcats had just six routines remaining to try and claw their way back into it.
Feeding off last week’s experience Kentucky found a way.
Tiara Phipps and Alexis Gross produced quality 9.8s to ramp up the home crowd’s energy. Kenzie Hedges then notched a 9.75 before Mitchell and Harrison produced the best two floor routines of the night to clinch the victory.
“We can take a little bit of positive out of a lot of the things we did, but overall, we didn’t accomplish what we wanted to tonight,” UK head coach Tim Garrison said. “It’s a four event meet, you have to hit four events. The problem is we’ve done this numerous times now.
“It’s time to hit a meet. It’s time to string a few meets together. They’ve worked hard enough to do that. They deserve to do that.”
Kentucky got off to a promising start as Marissa Beucler began the evening on vault with a career-high 9.725. Her fellow-freshman Jill Chappel went 9.8 before Harrison got herself off to a solid start in the all-around with a 9.725. Holly Cunningham tied her career high 9.85 and Shelby Hilton notched a solid 9.725.
Kentucky trailed 48.8-49.075 following the first rotation.
The Wildcats soared to a season-high 49.15 on bars with Harrison posting her third 9.9 of the season on the event as the highlight. Kayla Hartley shined in her routine with a career high 9.85. Alexis Gross anchored in stellar fashion with a collegiate-best-tying 9.875. Sara Shipley went 9.75 and Shelby Hilton went 9.775.
The top score on bars gave Kentucky a 98.05-97.4 lead after two stanzas.
After the mishaps on beam the Wildcats recovered to seal the victory and go two meets over .500 for the first time this season.
Alabama Gymnastics Beats Auburn, 197.650-196.575
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 5 Alabama gymnastics team used a season-high score to beat No. 15 Auburn, 197.650-196.575 Friday night in Coleman Coliseum. Alabama used season-high scores on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise to post its 106th consecutive win over the Tigers.
“I’m just so proud of the ladies because I think this was the meet that we were looking for,” UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. “We weren’t perfect, but they stepped it up on all levels. Before tonight, we had done that in practice, but we just hadn’t done it in competition yet. Tonight showed that this team can be one of the best in the country.”
Matching 9.925 vaults by senior Marissa Gutierrez and junior Diandra Milliner led Alabama to a 49.475 team score. Senior Ashley Sledge scored a 9.9 and freshman Lauren Beers added a 9.875 on the vault
“It was a tough week in practice, a couple of us were sick and people were just trying to push through and do what they need to do to prepare us for tonight and I think we did it,” Gutierrez said.
On the uneven bars, Sledge started the Tide off with a team-best 9.9, which led to a 49.250 team score. Junior Sarah DeMeo and senior Ashley Priess scored 9.875 and 9.85 respectively to finish off the rotation.
On the balance beam, Alabama tallied a 49.425 on the strength of 9.9s from sophomore Kayla Williams, DeMeo and junior Kim Jacob. Priess added a 9.875 while sophomore Kaitlyn Clark added a 9.85.
Alabama closed the night out with a 49.5 on the floor exercise where Gutierrez led the way with a 9.925. The Tide also garnered a 9.875 from Priess in the leadoff spot and 9.9s from Sledge, Milliner and Jacob.