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gymnastics-women-nc flag | February 8, 2014

Alabama battles to defeat No. 5 Georgia at home

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama won a tight back-and-forth battle against No. 5 Georgia on Friday night in front of 12,381 fans at Coleman Coliseum 197.500-196.825.

Down by five-hundredths of a point going into the final rotation, Alabama turned up the heat on the floor exercise. Sophomore Lauren Beers and senior Sarah DeMeo brought an appreciative crowd roaring to its feet with matching career-best scores of 9.925. The crowd grew even louder when seniors Kim Jacob and Diandra Milliner closed out the rotation and the meet with huge routines that both went for 9.95, matching both women's career-best marks.

"I think we took a big step forward tonight," Milliner said. "But I think we need to figure out how to start meets how we end meets, because we're ending them really great. We just need to have the momentum through the whole meet."

While Alabama was going on its tear on the floor, scoring a 49.625, Georgia had some trouble on the balance beam, scoring a 48.900, extending the final margin to .675.

The Tide's floor score was the fourth highest in school history, just .025 shy of third place. The victory extended the Crimson Tide home win streak to just shy of five years. Alabama's last loss in Coleman Coliseum, regular or postseason, came on Feb. 13, 2009.

Alabama opened the meet with a 49.300 on the vault, anchored by a huge vault from Milliner that went for a score of 9.925. On the uneven bars, the Tide tallied a 49.350 led by a 9.9 from Jacob and a 9.925 from junior Kaitlyn Clark. The Tide posted a 49.225 on the balance beam paced by 9.875s from Clark and freshman Aja Sims.

No. 1 Florida 197.175, Kentucky 195.45

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Florida turned in its third consecutive meet with a 10.0 to win the dual at Kentucky on Friday in front of a Memorial Coliseum crowd of 2,282. Florida turned in a 197.175 while the Wildcats posted a 195.45.

It was a steady performance for the Gators throughout the meet, scoring a 49.25 or above on every event. Florida opened and ended the meet with meet-high team totals of 49.325 on uneven bars and balance beam.

That beam total included a 10.0 by sophomore and defending NCAA beam champion Bridget Sloan. She is the second Gator to earn a perfect mark on beam, with the first also coming at Kentucky in 2004 when Kristen Stucky set the school record.

Sloan led a Gator sweep of the all-around, as she used a 39.675 to win her fourth consecutive title. Junior Kytra Hunter was second at 39.425 while senior Alaina Johnson posted a 39.40 in her first all-around performance in more than a year.

Florida also swept the event titles. In addition to the beam win, Sloan shared the evening’s uneven bars title with senior Mackenzie Caquatto at 9.90. Hunter used 9.925 marks to take both vault and floor exercise wins.

No. 3 LSU 197.225, Arkansas 196.275

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- For the first time in school history, LSU scored higher than a 197 at Arkansas as the Tigers defeated the 11th-ranked Razorbacks 197.225-196.275 on Friday night in Barnhill Arena.

LSU (4-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) scored a 49.375 on vault, 49.200 on bars, season-high tying 49.250 on beam and 49.400 on floor to reach 197.225, the third straight meet with a 197 total.

Freshman Ashleigh Gnat won the first individual title of her career with a 9.90 on vault, sharing the title with Rheagan Courville who also scored a 9.90.

Sarie Morrison won her third bars title of the season and 23rd of her career, and Courville and Jessie Jordan shared the beam title with matching 9.925 scores.LSU opened the meet with a 49.200 on bars, highlighted by a 9.925 from Morrison. Courville and Jordan added 9.85s, Britney Ranzy scored a 9.80 and Kaleigh Dickson tallied a 9.775 to round out the Tigers’ scoring. Randii Wyrick recorded a 9.70 in her first routine of the season.

LSU posted a 49.375 on vault in the second rotation. Gnat and Courville paced the team with 9.90s. Jordan stuck her vault to earn a 9.875, and Morrison and Ranzy provided 9.85s. Dickson led off the event with a 9.825.

The Tigers increased the lead over Arkansas in the third rotation with a 49.400 on floor. Courville and Lloimincia Hall led the way with matching 9.925s. Gnat and Jessica Savona added 9.875s, Jordan scored a 9.80 and Dickson tallied a 9.75.

LSU closed out the meet with a strong performance on beam, equaling the season high with a 49.250. Courville and Jordan gave the Tigers a solid one-two punch at the end of the lineup as both scored a 9.925. Savona tied her career high with a 9.825, and Gnat posted a 9.80. Hall led off with a 9.775, and Dickson scored a 9.725.

Arkansas (3-3, 1-3) was led by senior Katherine Grable who edged out Courville for the all-around title with a 39.625 to Courville’s 39.600.

No. 4 Utah 197.825, No. 13 Arizona 194.425

SALT LAKE CITY -- A pre-meet ceremony honoring Utah coach Greg Marsden for becoming the first 1,000 win coach in college gymnastics history had members of his team tearing up. The rest of the night was nothing but smiles as the Utes turned in their best meet of the season and crushed No. 13 Arizona 197.825-194.425.

"Seeing Greg being honored was really emotional for us," Georgia Dabritz said, who continued her torrid win streak by capturing bars and floor with 9.975s on both. "I just felt so honored to be a part of this program after that." The three-event star has now won 11 of her 15 events this season.

The Utes stayed unbeaten with the victory, which was televised live on the Pac-12 Networks, improving to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Pac-12 Conference. Arizona dropped to 3-3, 1-2 Pac-12.

Dabritz scored a 9.925 on vault during the first rotation, but the gold on that event went to Tory Wilson, who landed a 9.975--the first of three near-perfect scores on the night for the Utes. Wilson also won the all-around -- her fourth in five meets -- with a season-best 39.60.