Alabama Gymnasts Fall At Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In a meet that came down to the last competitor on each team, the No. 9 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team came up just short against the No. 8 Arkansas Razorback in Barnhill Arena Friday night, 196.625-196.525, in front of 2,786 fans.

It was the Crimson Tide's highest score of the season and came without senior Brittany Magee whose season came to an end Wednesday when she tore a ligament in her left knee during practice. Magee's absence meant that half of the Tide's routines came from athletes who were not in the lineup last season, including nine from true freshmen.

"I am very proud of our team," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "We've had a very difficult week, losing one of our all-arounders to a season ending knee injury. I told our ladies I wanted them to come out here and show everyone our spirit and I think we did that tonight."

Alabama goes to 2-2-0 on the season, 1-2 in Southeastern Conference competition while the Razorbacks, who knocked off then No. 1 Florida and No. 7 Oklahoma during the last seven days, goes to 5-1-0, 2-0-0 in the SEC.

"I thought we performed exceptionally well tonight," Patterson said. "It was our highest score of the season and it was a very good road score. I'm just thrilled for us because I think our ladies see now that despite our difficulties, we can be a very good team, and one that will only get better as the season goes along."

With the meet tied after three rotations, Alabama, the nation's top-ranked balance beam team, did not back down, scoring a 49.225 on the beam behind a trio of 9.875s from junior Ricki Lebegern and freshmen Ashley Priess and Caitlin Sullivan. Junior Casey Overton and freshman Geralen Stack-Eaton both added 9.8 to the Tide's total. Arkansas scored a 49.100 on the beam.

Alabama tied the meet in the third rotation with its highest floor exercise score of the season, a 49.275, behind 9.9 scores from Dennis and Priess, a 9.8975 from Lebegern and a 9.85 from senior Ashley O'Neal in the leadoff spot. It was O'Neal's first routine of the season. The Razorbacks closed the night out with a 49.325 on the floor exercise.

The Tide got the night started with a 49.000 on the uneven bars, led by Priess' 9.825. Lebegern, Stack-Eaton and Price all scored 9.8 on the bars. The Razorbacks totaled a 48.950 on the bars. Freshman Rachel Terry scored a 9.9 to lead Alabama to a 49.025 on the vault. Dennis scored a 9.875 while Stack-Eaton posted a 9.8. Arkansas started the night off with a 49.250 on the vault.

After spending three of the last four weeks on the road, Alabama returns home Friday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. to take on the Denver Pioneers. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, and online at

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