"This will be a tough meet for us," coach Sarah Patterson said. "LSU is hard to beat at home. Their fans are very vocal and they'll still be pumped up from the national (football) championship. I have no doubt it will come down to the last event and we will have to hit six beam routines to win."
While Alabama holds a commanding lead in the all-time series with the Tigers, in Baton Rouge the Tide only holds a slight edge at 10-9-2. In fact, Patterson and company will be looking for their first win at the Maravich Center since 1998.
Alabama will have some measure of support at the meet. Three members of the Tide's roster are from Louisiana -- junior Michelle Reeser (Monroe), sophomore Rachael Delahoussaye (Mandeville) and freshman Brittany Comeaux (Addis).
This year, Alabama (6-0, 0-0) is off to a strong start, with a 196.725 to win the season-opening Super Six Challenge and a 197.125 last weekend against Penn State. LSU has posted scores of 195.3 and 194.875 to open at 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. The Tigers opened up their conference schedule last weekend at Florida.
Alabama opens its SEC slate against the Tigers despite beating Georgia and Florida at the Super Six Challenge, which does not count in the conference schedule.
In addition to pitting two talented teams against each other, Alabama is led by 2003 SEC Gymnast of the Year Jeana Rice, while LSU is led by 2003 SEC Freshman of the Year April Burkholder.
Alabama-LSU also features the three longest tenured coaches in the league. Sarah and David Patterson are in their 26th season at Alabama. LSU's head coach, D-D Breaux, is in her 27th year with the Tigers.
After its trip to Baton Rouge, Alabama returns home Friday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. to face the No. 3 ranked Florida Gators. It will be academic achievement night at Coleman Coliseum at ESPN will be on hand to catch all the action.
Tickets for that meet are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of the coliseum or online at www.rolltide.com