Bama Gymnasts Comes Up Short in Baton Rouge
It was an electric atmosphere in the bayou Friday night where the Alabama gymnastics team competed against the LSU Tigers.
The Crimson Tide was without the reigning uneven bar All-American Makarri Doggette. Doggette suffered a sprain in the Georgia meet the week before. Coming into Friday's meet, Alabama head coach Dana Duckworth was optimistic Doggette could compete, but when it came time to competition, the Tide aired on the side of caution.
The Tigers got off to a hot start with the first two gymnasts scoring a 9.900 on vault. Alabama struggled to keep pace with the Tigers as they only had one score of 9.900 or better on the uneven bars.
LSU ended the first rotation with four scores of 9.900 or higher, giving them the edge over Alabama. The Tigers led by 0.250 points going into the second rotation. Alabama's vault lineup only saw two scores of 9.900 or higher, one of which was super-senior Lexi Graber's 9.975 "Yurchenko 1.5".
The Tide trailed the Tigers by two-tenths of a point going into the third rotation. Alabama had a season-low overall floor score of a 49.225 which is what really set the Tide behind. Senior Emily Gaskins over-rotated one of her tumbling passes and scored a 9.050 and junior Luisa Blanco had an uncharacteristic night on floor scoring only a 9.750. Meanwhile, LSU had a gymnast score a perfect 10.0 on the beam and four others score above a 9.900 on that event. While hardly anything went right in the first three rotations, Duckworth was proud of how the girls handled the adversity.
"The bounce back after a mistake and keeping our focus and energy high regardless of circumstance was a team goal, and that is part of how we measured our success tonight," Duckworth said.
Despite their struggles all night, Alabama ended the meet on a high note. Coach Duckworth's dream came true when all six gymnasts scored a 9.900+ on beam. Blanco redeemed herself on what's arguably her best event. She scored a season high 9.975 to close out the meet.
The Alabama gymnastics team returns to Coleman Coliseum Friday in hopes of defeating the Missouri Tigers. The meet starts at 5 p.m. C.T. and will air on the SEC Network.
LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America
See 20 Ways America Has Changed Since 9/11