Feb. 21, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The No. 5 ranked Alabama gymnastics team finished second by a tenth of a point to No. 1 Oklahoma at the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City, Okla., Friday night, 197.200-197.100. No. 7 Michigan was third with a 196.200 while West Virginia was fourth at 193.525.
Trailing the Sooners by more than three-tenths of a point going into its final rotation, Alabama finished the night off with its best vault rotation of the season, going 49.550, capped by senior Diandra Milliner scoring a season-best 9.975. Freshman Katie Bailey scored a career-best 9.900, sophomore Lauren Beers posted her second 9.95 of the season while junior Kaitlyn Clark led the Tide off with a 9.875 on the vault.
"We took on the No. 1 team in the country without our top all-arounder and came within a tenth of a point," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "I'm extremely proud of this team and how they competed tonight."
Alabama went into the meet without senior all-arounder Sarah DeMeo.
"Sarah missed a release move on the uneven bars during practice on Tuesday and had concussion symptoms," Patterson said. "She was cleared to compete, but she did not feel 100 percent and so we felt holding her out was in her best interest and in the best interest of our team. It's all about helping these ladies be successful in April. This allowed us an opportunity to use our depth and get others experience."
Alabama started the night with a 4.225 on the uneven bars, led by senior Kim Jacob's 9.875. Bailey started things off with a 9.85, a score matched by rookie Amanda Jetter. Jacob led the way again on the balance beam, anchoring the lineup with a 9.9, pushing Alabama to a 49.075 team score.
"We had people step in and step up throughout our lineup," Patterson said. "We took a challenging situation and did a great job with it. Diandra went in the all-around for the time since her sophomore year and was outstanding."
Milliner, who was competing in front of a large group of friends and family, won the all-around with a career-best 39.525 while Bailey went 39.350 to take second.
After back-to-back home meets, Alabama returns home for three home contests in a row, starting with No. 2 Florida on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
"Oklahoma is the No. 1 team in the nation this week and Florida will probably be No. 1 next week after the big score they put up tonight," Patterson said. "I hope our fans will fill Coleman Coliseum next week and help our ladies take on the Gators."
Tickets for the Tide's home meets and the SEC and NCAA Championships are on sale through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, and online at RollTide.com.
Fans can keep up with the Tide via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by following BamaGymnastics.
Alabama's Top Individual Finishers: