No. 2 LSU takes down No. 9 Tide in intense SEC matchup

No. 2 LSU takes down No. 9 Tide in intense SEC matchup

16 hours ago
LSU Athletics

Photo: LSU Athletics

BATON ROUGE – The No. 2 LSU Gymnastics team (8-3, 5-2 SEC) match the program’s third highest score to defeat No. 9 Alabama (9-3-1, 3-3-1 SEC) by a final score of 198.325-197.325 on Friday night inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU improved their NQS to 197.885 on the night after posting their fourth score of 198+ this year.

“I’m just proud of them. We were solid all the way through. I thought they just stayed with it. It took us until the second event to get our rhythm and kind of get headed in the right direction,” said head coach Jay Clark.

“We saw people step up tonight. As long as their heads stay where they need to, we’re good. Tonight certainly helped our confidence. We want to stay in the top four and at the top for the SEC Championships.

The Tigers score of 198.325 was the highest score recorded in a dual-meet against the Crimson Tide. The victory also marks the third straight win over Alabama when facing off in the regular season and eighth ranked victory on the year.

KJ Johnson led things off for the Tigers on vault with a 9.875 while Aleah Finnegan followed with the same score. It was a 9.725 for Amari Drayton in the third spot. Chase Brock posted a season high 9.875 and Kiya Johnson tallied a 9.875 in the fifth spot. Haleigh Bryant anchored with a team high 9.950 to finish as the top performer on the night.

LSU finished the first rotation with a 49.450 on vault and took the early lead over Alabama, 49.450-49.200.

Alexis Jeffrey started off the bars rotation with a 9.875. Ashley Cowan recorded a career high 9.925 in the second spot. Kiya Johnson and Konnor McClain added a pair of 9.90’s, respectively. Ashley Cowan and Tori Tatum had career high performances for the Tigers, as Cowan earned a 9.925 and Tatum a 9.950. Bryant closed with a nearly-perfect 9.975, continuing to earn her second event victory on the night.

The Tigers matched their season-high score on the year with a 49.650 on bars to extend their lead to 99.100-98.425 at the halfway point in the PMAC.

Sierra Ballard led off the beam squad with a 9.825. Jeffrey held down the second spot with her score of 9.90. McClain added a 9.875 in the third spot while Kiya Johnson followed with the same score. It was a 9.925 for Bryant in the fifth spot before Finnegan finished off the rotation with a 9.875.

LSU scored a 49.450 on beam as the team transitioned into the final event with the Tigers leading, 148.550-147.825.

In the final rotation on floor, McClain led off with a 9.925 and Drayton kept it going with another 9.925 in the second spot. KJ Johnson scored a career high 9.975 and Aleah Finnegan followed with a 9.950. Bryant found perfection in the fifth spot with her third perfect score on floor and 14th in her career. Sierra Ballard moved into Johnson’s spot in a last minute lineup change and anchored with a 9.900.

The Tigers matched their floor record score for the third time this season as they closed out the final rotation with 49.775 on the floor to secure the win.

Haleigh Bryant posted a season-high 39.850 in the all-around to finish as the top performer on the night. The senior also took home the vault, bars and floor titles at the meet to move her career total to 79.

Bryant now owns 28 titles on vault, 12 on bars, eight on floor and 25 in the all-around. Her 25 career all-around titles ties her in second for most in school history with April Burkholder.

LSU will head down the road to the Raising Cane’s River Center next week, where they will face Auburn, George Washington and Texas Woman’s on Friday, March 8 at 6 p.m. CT.

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