SEC dominates Session 1 as Florida leads pack; Bama tops second session
LOS ANGELES -- Florida cleared its first hurdle toward a potential national title, advancing to the Super Six with an impressive performance on Friday at the Pauley Pavilion.
The tensest moment for the Gators came on their first routine when sophomore Kiersten Wang fell during a tumbling pass on the floor. No worries as freshman Bridget Sloan followed Wang's 8.825 with a 9.900 that helped the Gators settle into their performance.
Following Sloan's floor routine, Ashanee Dickerson scored a 9.825, Marissa King had a 9.900, Kytra Hunter a 9.875 and Bridgette Caquatto made sure the Gators dodged trouble with a 9.825, negating any chance of Wang's score of counting.
Sloan was sharp all day as the Gators finished with a score of 197.775, matching their total from a year ago in the Super Six, when they finished national runner-up to Alabama.
The SEC took all three spots available for the Super Six in Friday's first session. LSU finished second (197.325) and Georgia placed third (197.150).
Sloan, the 2009 world champion, posted Session I's top all-around score with a 39.600. She finished with a 9.900 on floor and beam, a 9.925 on bars and a 9.875 on vault.
The Gators advanced to the Super Six for the seventh time in as many years. It's Florida's eighth berth in the Super Six in head coach Rhonda Faehn's 11 seasons.
In the day's second session, Alabama took first place, advancing to Saturday's Super Six team final. This gives the Crimson Tide a chance for a third consecutive national title.
Alabama scored a 197.350 to win the session and advanced to the finals for the 19th time since the Super Six format was instituted in 1993, the most in gymnastics history. The Tide was led by Kim Jacob's 39.425 in the all-around.
Oklahoma and host-school UCLA tied for second with 197.2s, and will join the Tide in the Super Six.
The Tide scored a 49.45 on the floor exercise led by Jacob's 9.925 and Milliner's 9.95 before closing out the night with a 49.35 on the vault, led by a trio of 9.9s from sophomore Kaitlyn Clark, freshman Lauren Beers and junior Diandra Milliner.
Alabama started the night off with a 49.275 on the uneven bars led by junior Sarah DeMeo's 9.875 and senior Ashley Priess' 9.9. The Tide followed that up with another 49.275, where junior Kayla Williams set the pace with a 9.9 and juniors Diandra Milliner, DeMeo and Kim Jacob all scored 9.85s.
UCLA and Oklahoma followed Alabama with second and third-place finishes, respectively.