Alabama Gymnastics Heads To LSU

Alabama formerly had home-and-away gymnastics meets each year against both Georgia and Auburn. And then, without almost without warning, both the Bulldogs and the Tigers decided that the popular meets were not good for their coaches' records. Once a year against Coach Sarah Patterson's Crimson Tide was all they wanted.

But Alabama has found a Southeastern Conference opponent with the courage to take on the Crimson Tide twice in regular season competition. The result is that Bama will be at LSU Friday night for a meet that pits the nation's number four Tigers against fifth-ranked Bama. It begins at 7 p.m. CST Friday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Alabama opened its home schedule with a 196.575-195.525 win over LSU on January 18. The last time Bama made the trip to Baton Rouge was February 23, 2012, when Alabama beat the Tigers 197.025-196.575. This is the first time in several years that the Tide and Tigers have faced each other in a home and home series.

Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson wants her team to compete against top opponents and the rematch with LSU made good sense.

"We looked at what's the best competition, who has good equipment, who puts us in a good scenario in terms of how we prepare our team – and LSU certainly fit the bill," Patterson said. "I could take our team all the way out to California and compete against teams in that area, but it's a lot of travel and a lot of expense when we could get the number four team in the country in a very competitive environment just a short hop away."

Alabama posted its third highest score of the season last Friday in defeating number six UCLA. Patterson said she is looking for continued improvement as Bama completes regular season competition over the next two weekends.

"I look at where we match up right now and the scores that we've had and I feel like we're on an upward trend," Patterson said. "We're on Jan. 18 in the Top 5 in the county, but the last three scores have been our best.

Junior Kim Jacob led the Tide against UCLA, winning her fifth all-around of the season by tying her career-best score with a 39.425. Jacob also posted her seventh consecutive score of a 9.9 or above on the floor exercise with a career-best tying 9.95, sharing top honors on the event with fellow junior Diandra Milliner who was named the SEC Specialist of the Week after tying her career-best score on the floor.

Alabama's trip to Baton Rouge marks the Tide's ninth meet of the season and eighth against Southeastern Conference competition. It is also the Tide's third breast cancer awareness meet of the season, the first two coming at Missouri and at home against Kentucky. Alabama is 19-0 all-time when wearing its pink leotards. Undefeated at home this season, LSU is coming off a PMAC win over No. 8 Georgia last week which followed a road loss to Auburn the week before.

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