TUSCALOOSA, Ala. It was a night for the young and old alike to take a bow as the Alabama Gymnastics team used a big night on all four events to beat the UCLA Bruins 197.225-196.475.
The evening started off with a heartfelt tribute to the Crimson Tide’s lone senior Erin Rightley and finished off with a huge, highflying, raise the roof 9.95 routine from rookie Morgan Dennis on the floor exercise that had every one of the 10,045 fans in attendance roaring to their feet.
In between, Alabama scored 49-plus on all four apparatus, including better than 49.3 on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise.
“It was a good night against a good team,” Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. “We never really opened the door for them, even though they were only a little more than three-tenths behind going into the last event. We competed with poise tonight against a top-5 team and I think it showed.”
Three freshmen led the Tide in the all-around with Morgan Dennis scoring a 39.475, Kassi Price going 49.425 and Ricki Lebegern turning in a 49.375. It was Price’s first all-around performance since the third meet of the season. The freshman has been nursing a stress reaction in her left leg, though she has competed in every meet this season. Dennis won the vault and floor exercise while sophomore Brittany Magee won the balance beam.
Alabama started off the night with a 49.325 on the vault led by a 9.9 from Dennis. Lebegern and Price both scored a 9.875s while Magee turned in a 9.85 and sophomore Ashley O’Neal went 9.825. It marked the fifth meet in a row that the Tide has scored better than 39.3 on the vault. UCLA scored a 48.925 on the vault.
Junior Terin Humphrey, in her only event of the night after fighting through illness all week, led the Tide on the uneven bars, scoring a 9.875. Humphrey had been in the all-around the previous eight meets in a row and leads the Tide in routines in the competitive lineup. Price added a 9.85, sophomore Cassie Martin turned in a 9.825 and Dennis went 9.75. Junior Kaitlin White led the Tide off with a 9.775. The Bruins started the night off with a 48.925 on the uneven bars.
Alabama put together its second strong balance beam showing in as many weeks, tying its season best with a 49.350 led by a career-best 9.9 from Magee. O’Neal led the Tide off with a 9.85 which freshman Casey Overton matched in the second spot. Up third and fourth, Lebegern and Dennis posted matching 9.875s. For Dennis, it was the second meet in a row that she bettered her career high on the beam. UCLA fought through a fall in its first balance beam routine to score a 49.1 on the apparatus.
Alabama started its floor exercise rotation off with a trio of 9.875s from O’Neal, White and Price. Lebegern posted a 9.9 while Dennis closed the night off with a 9.95 bringing the crowd to its feet once again. UCLA scored a 49.100 on the floor exercise.
The Crimson Tide finishes off the regular season next Friday at Auburn starting at 7 p.m. The Tide’s last meet at home this season will be the NCAA Central Region Championships April 14. For ticket information contact the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) or go online to RollTide.com.