For the second week in a row, the No. 5 ranked Alabama gymnastics team came up just short of breaking the 197-barrier, this time falling to No. 1 Florida, 198.100-196.850 in front of 8,074 fans, the ninth largest crowd in Florida history. It was the Crimson Tide’s second highest score of the season and the Gator’s second highest score in school history.

“I feel like our ladies continue to improve,” UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. “We didn’t have that one event where we had a lot of mistakes like we have the last couple of weeks. We just didn’t hit our landings. I voted Florida the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason poll for a reason and they had one of their best performances in front of one of their best crowds tonight.”

Alabama got off to a solid start on the uneven bars, posting a 49.175 behind junior Sarah DeMeo’s 9.875.

“Tonight we stuck just one landing on the uneven bars,” Patterson said. “In a sport where championships are decided by fractions of a point, every landing makes a difference.”

Senior Marissa Gutierrez led the Tide to a 49.325 on the vault by tying her career best with a 9.95, winning the event.

“Marissa has one of our biggest vaults, but sometimes she has trouble finding her landing,” Patterson said. “Tonight she was the only one that stuck her vault cold.”

Gutierrez and junior Kim Jacob both scored 9.9s on the floor exercise, pushing Alabama to a 49.325. Jacob also posted the Tide’s highest balance beam score of the night, tallying a 9.875 to lead Alabama to a 49.025.

“I thought Florida was really great tonight and I thought we were good too,” Patterson said. “Our ladies are fighters and they’ll use tonight to make us better. I think we earned every tenth of a point tonight, there weren’t any gifts. I want to take this and continue to move forward.”

After back-to-back weeks on the road, the Tide returns home on Feb. 15 to take on the Auburn Tigers at 7:30 p.m.

“We’ve been in front of big crowds of 8,000 and 9,000 the last couple of weeks on the road and they made a difference for the home team,” Patterson said. “We are looking forward to being back in front of our fans as take on a very good Auburn team in Coleman Coliseum. Being at home always gives us a lift.”

(Courtesy Alabama Media Relations)

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