gymnastics-women-nc flag | February 20, 2014

Preview: No. 2 Florida meets another top-four opponent in No. 3 LSU

No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 LSU

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida meets its third top-four opponent of 2014 when it plays host to LSU on Friday for the eighth annual Gators Link to Pink. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. ET in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Florida turned in a 197.525-196.025 win against No. 11 Arkansas on Valentine’s Day in front of a Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 6,124. Junior Kytra Hunter became the third Gator to earn a 10.0 on vault and she joins teammate Bridget Sloan as the only two Gators to earn a perfect score on multiple events. Sloan, the defending NCAA all-around and balance beam champion, won her fifth consecutive all-around title with a nation’s leading 39.75. She also used a 9.90 to win balance beam and a 9.975 to take the floor title. Seniors Mackenzie Caquatto and Alaina Johnson shared the uneven bars win with Gator season-best marks of 9.95. It was Caquatto’s second win on the event in 2014 and the 16th of her career. For Johnson, it was her first win on the event since taking the 2013 NCAA title and her 14th collegiate bars win.

Friday will be LSU’s fourth consecutive road meet and the Tigers have been scoring very well during that stretch. The 197.875 turned in last Saturday at the MetroPlex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, not only is the Tigers’ top team total of 2014, but also ranks as the nation’s second-highest road score of the season. It also stands as the Tigers’ all-time high.

Two Tigers have turned in perfect 10.0 marks this season – juniors Rheagan Courville (vault) and Lloimincia Hall (floor/two times). At the MetroPlex Challenge, Courville and Hall won vault and floor, respectively, with 10.0 marks. Courville, the reigning SEC Gymnast of the Week, also matched Sloan’s national-leading all-around total of 39.75 to claim her fifth all-around title of the season.

No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 5 Alabama, No. 7 Michigan at Perfect 10 Challenge

The Sooners will enter the seventh week of the regular season ranked No. 1 in the country after posting a 198.175 victory in the Metroplex Challenge last weekend. This is the fourth week this year that OU has been the top-ranked team in the country. Oklahoma will look to use the performance as a momentum boost in this weekend’s Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City against Alabama, Michigan and West Virginia. OU has scored a 197 or better in five meets this year, including three scores of 197.500 or higher.

At last week’s Metroplex Challenge, sophomore Haley Scaman became the first Sooner since 2010 to score a perfect 10.0 on any event. Scaman earned a 10.0 on floor, becoming only the second Sooner in program history to earn a perfect score on the event. Scaman, Chayse Capps (beam) and McKenzie Wofford  (bars) round out the list of Sooners to earn a 10.0 from at least one judge this season.

For Alabama, its last regular-season road meet of 2014 this Friday at the Perfect 10 Challenge will be a little different.

For one thing, the Crimson Tide will face off against three other teams - Oklahoma, Michigan and West Virginia - marking its first quad meet of the season. It will also mark the first time Alabama has competed in Oklahoma City, though nearby Norman, home of the Sooners, is familiar territory.

Michigan remains unbeaten (9-0) and ascended to the top of the Big Ten regular season standings (4-0) following last Friday's 196.650-196.125 victory against Nebraska. The Wolverines have won their last 13 regular-season competitions dating back to last season. Over that stretch, U-M is 20-0 and is averaging 196.882:

No. 4 Utah vs. No. 11 Oregon State

Up next up Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) is a home meet against Oregon State (7-1, 1-1 Pac-12) at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Huntsman Center.

Utah suffered its first loss of the season on Monday at No. 12 Stanford (197.000-196.300).

Georgia Dabritz has won 68 percent of her routines (13-19), including all six bar competitions and five floor titles. A Ute has won or tied for first on vault, bars and floor in every meet this season. Dabritz has won four Pac-12 Specialist of the Week awards and Tory Wilson has been named the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week twice.

Utah leads the series with OSU 60-9. Utah has never lost to OSU in Salt Lake City, where the Utes lead 30-0.

No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 10 Auburn

Following the cancellation of its meet last weekend, Georgia returns to action Friday night when the Gym Dogs travel to Auburn. The winter storm that moved across the South forced the cancellation of UGA’s meet against Missouri. While the Gym Dogs were idle last Friday, Auburn fell to Alabama despite scoring a 197.100 - the second-highest mark in school history. Georgia is searching for its first win away from Stegeman Coliseum this season.

For the sixth time this year, Georgia will take on a top-10 team when it faces Auburn. All five of the Gym Dogs’ road meets have come against top-10 teams. UGA has competed against No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 LSU and No. 5 Alabama. The regular season ends with a trip to No. 4 Utah on March 15.

This marks the 78th all-time meeting between Georgia and Auburn with the Gym Dogs holding a 74-3 advantage, including a 17-2 mark in Auburn. In 28 dual meets against the Tigers, Georgia is 26-2.

This is just the third time Georgia and Auburn will square off in a dual meet when both teams are ranked in the top-10. In 2005, No. 10 Georgia topped seventh-ranked Auburn 195.800-193.575, and the third-ranked Gym Dogs downed No. 5 Auburn, 197.250-195.925 in 2009. Both meets were held in Athens.

No. 8 Nebraska at Quad meet with Kentucky, Wisconsin-Stout, Bridgeport

Nebraska will continue its two-meet home stand this weekend, hosting the 24th annual Masters Classic at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The meet is set for 3 p.m. Sunday. NU will look to capture its 20th Masters Classic title as they face Wisconsin-Stout, Bridgeport and Kentucky.

No. 9 UCLA vs. No. 12 Stanford

UCLA (4-2, 4-1 in the Pac-12) hosts Stanford (12-1, 4-1) on at 9 p.m. Saturday. This meet is UCLA’s annual pink meet to raise awareness for breast cancer.

UCLA used career-best performances by Sydney Sawa and Sadiqua Bynum and three 9.9+ scores by Olivia Courtney to defeat No. 23 Washington on Feb. 8, 196.675-195.650. The score was a season-best road score for the Bruins, who were competing short-handed due to illness and injuries. Sawa won the all-around with a career-high score of 39.45 and tied for first with Bynum and Courtney on floor with a 9.9 and won beam with a career-best 9.925. Bynum and Courtney tied for first on vault with scores of 9.9, and Courtney and Samantha Peszek tied for first on bars with 9.925s.

Stanford is coming off a 197.000-196.300 upset win on Monday against previously undefeated Utah. The Cardinal hit 24-for-24 to reach 197 for the second time this season. Stanford is led by 2012 Canadian Olympian Kristina Vaculik, who ranks 15th in the nation in the all-around. Also on the Cardinal squad are All-Americans Ivana Hong, Shona Morgan, Taylor Rice, Samantha Shapiro and Amanda Spinner.



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