Feb. 7, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The No. 7 Alabama gymnastics team won a tight back-and-forth battle against No. 5 Georgia Friday night in front of 12,381 fans at Coleman Coliseum, 197.500-196.825.
"I feel like some teams might have been discouraged after losing by almost a point at LSU - and we didn't have a bad meet at LSU - but I think for them to come in and step it up like this I think mentally that is what we need right now," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said.
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.
It was "Alumni Night" in Coleman Coliseum and more than 60 former Tide gymnasts were introduced prior to the meet, including Penney Hauschild Buxton, Dee Foster Worley and Meredith Willard Luber, the Tide's first three NCAA all-around champions.
The Tide returns to the road for it next meet, traveling to Auburn, Ala., to take on the Auburn Tigers Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
"The hard thing is the next three meets will be exactly like this," Patterson said. "We go down to Auburn who is ranked in the top 10 and it's going to be just as tight and then we have Oklahoma, the No. 2 team in the country, followed by Florida, who is ranked No. 1."
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