The bottom line was disappointing, but there was reason for Alabama gymnastics to have optimism following the Crimson Tide’s loss to No. 1 Florida in Gainesville Friday night. The Gators took a 198.175 to 197.525 win over fifth-ranked Alabama. But…
To begin with, Alabama went from awful – a three-fall performance on the balance beam last Friday -- to awesome on the beam. In front of a raucous Florida crowd of 8,867, the Tide posted a 49.550 on beam, the fifth highest score in school history.
It was an exceptional exhibition by both teams. Alabama’s overall score was its highest of the year, and the best road score in the nation this season. Florida won by posting the nation’s best score this year.
“I’m so proud of the persistence, power and fierce grace that our team displayed,” Alabama Coach Dana Duckworth said. “We came back from last week’s beam performance and competed like rock stars in front of a very vocal crowd here on the road. The best part is that as good as we were tonight, we still have room for improvement.”
Junior Aja Sims, who scored a 9.95 on the beam last week, posted a career-best 9.975 while Lauren Beers tied her career-best with a 9.950 before sophomore Nickie Guerrero closed out the rotation with a 9.9. Junior Keely McNeer started beam off with a 9.875 and junior Katie Bailey added a 9.85.
Alabama started the night off with a season-best 49.325 on the uneven bars, led by Beers’ 9.925 and Mackenzie Brannan’s 9.9, which ties the sophomore’s career-best mark. The Tide followed that up with a 49.200 on the vault paced by a 9.9 from Beers in the anchor spot.
Led by a career-best 9.925 from sophomore Kiana Winston and a 9.9 from junior Katie Bailey, Alabama totaled a 49.450 on the floor exercise, its second-highest score of the season and its highest road tally.
Beers took second on the all-around, tying her career-best of 39.650.
Alabama returns home on Feb. 5 to take on Kentucky in the Crimson Tide’s 12th annual Power of Pink meet. Tickets are available online at RollTide.com or through the Alabama Ticket Office at (205) 348-2262 or in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum.