Giant-Killer LSU Comes To Coleman

Coming off its highest score of the year, the Number Five ranked Alabama gymnastics team faces Number 11 LSU in Coleman Coliseum Friday night starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Crimson Tide scored a 197.025 last Friday against Denver, breaking the 197 barrier for the first time this season. After last weekend's brief respite from league competition, Alabama jumps right back into it Friday, facing its fifth Southeastern Conference foe in the first six weeks of the season.

LSU also posted its highest score of the season last weekend, using a 196.800 to beat former Number One ranked Florida in Baton Rouge, La. The Tigers are also coming off their highest team finish at the NCAA Championships last season, when they took fifth.

"There's no doubt that LSU is a very good team and that we will have to have a performance similar to the one we had against Denver to beat them," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said.. "This Friday is the start of a very tough stretch for us, facing three teams in a row that are ranked in the top-12 nationally. But this is the kind of schedule that is going to prepare us for the postseason."

Tide junior Ricki Lebegern is ranked 12th in the all-around while LSU senior Ashley Clare-Kearney stands at No. 9. Alabama remains the nation's top ranked balance beam team, and is among the top 10 on both the vault and uneven bars.

The Tigers should make things interesting right away Friday night. Their strongest events to this point in the season, the vault and uneven bars, will be their first two of the meet. Both teams have similar high scores on the night's last two events, the balance beam and floor exercise.

"This will be one of those meets that will come down to the last rotation and likely the last competitor for each team," Patterson said. "I expect it to be very exciting all the way through."

Friday will also be "Pirates and Princess" night in Coleman Coliseum, with many of the giveaways during the meet centering around that theme, including the Pirates of the Caribbean DVD box set and a princess camera. Members of the Tuscaloosa Chapter of The University of Alabama Alumni Association can receive free admission to the meet for themselves and a guest. To find out how they should e-mail

Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205-348-2262), located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum, or online at

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