Feb. 12, 2010

* Courtesy of Georgia Athletics


ATHENS, Ga. --- The ninth-ranked Georgia gymnastics team posted scores of 49 or above on each event on its way to a 196.725-195.872 win over No. 3 Arkansas Friday night in Stegeman Coliseum.

The win was the Gym Dogs' second in a row as they are now a perfect 3-0 at home this season and improve to 3-3 (2-2) overall. The Razorbacks drop to 3-3 (2-3) with the loss.

The meet marked the annual Pink Out event for the Gym Dogs, as the team continues to partner with Athens Regional Medical Center to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.

"The way we finished tonight was huge," said head coach Jay Clark. "One of the things we talked about tonight and all week long was finishing - finishing every pose, finishing every routine, finishing every landing, and finishing strong, and that's huge. You want to ride a wave of momentum and that's a big key in our sport. With what I thought was a very reasonable and tough judging panel out there tonight, I feel good about what the scores were and I felt like we left it a little bit out there, but we finished strong and that's a big part of the message we're sending in the gym."

Georgia began the evening with an even 49.000 on vault, where they were led by sophomore Kat Ding's 9.850 and a pair of 9.825s from junior Cassidy McComb and freshman Noel Couch. In Arkansas' first rotation, they posted a 48.650 on bars as the Gym Dogs came away with the early lead.

The second stop for Georgia was bars, where all six competitors notched at least a 9.800 for the Gym Dogs. Ding was the top scorer with her 9.900, while senior Courtney McCool posted a 9.875 and reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Shayla Worley tied her career-high with a 9.850. Seniors Marcia Newby (9.825) and Grace Taylor (9.800) each set season highs in the event. With a total score of 49.275 on bars and following the Razorbacks' 49.250 on vault, Georgia continued to build on its lead at the midway point.

The third rotation sent the Gym Dogs to the balance beam, where freshman Christa Tanella filled the third position and turned in a career-high 9.800. Taylor posted a 9.900 and Worley a 9.875 en route to Georgia's 49.100 on beam. With Arkansas' 48.950 on floor, the Gym Dogs held a 147.375-146.850 heading into the final rotation.

The fourth and final event of the night for UGA was floor, where McCool - at the sixth spot - posted a 9.950 to tie her season-high score and lead the way for Georgia. Again, all Georgia competitors had at least 9.800s. Worley and Taylor logged 9.900s, which was a season high for the latter as well as her second 9.900 performance of the night. Couch's 9.800 tied her season-best effort as the Gym Dogs closed it out with a 49.350 on floor - their highest event total of the night. Arkansas finished with a 49.025 on beam as the Gym Dogs held on for the victory.

"I'm really proud about our performance tonight," said Taylor, who competed on bars for the first time this season. "I am really excited about the energy that we were able to maintain despite the fact that a quarter of the fans that would usually show up were actually able to. I think the fact that we're continuing to make progress and change up the lineup is great. It's really cool that we're still going in the right direction."

In the all-around, Worley picked up her second straight win with a 39.375 as Georgia's lone all-arounder. The Razorbacks had four gymnasts compete in all four events, led by Casey Jo Magee's 39.350.

Georgia is now a 17-0 all-time against Arkansas, which was coming off a school record point total in last week's win over Auburn. Arkansas was the fourth top-10 opponent for Georgia already this season.