No. 2 Oklahoma Downs No. 1 Tide
"Throughout the season I can only evaluate teams that we compete against on that night, and I can tell you that Oklahoma is the best team that we have competed against this season," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "I felt like through three rotations, we really gave it our all."
Oklahoma held a slim .025 edge going into the second half of the meet, but used a season-high 49.625 on the floor exercise while Alabama posted a 49.075 on the balance beam to put the meet out of reach.
"I was disappointed in our performance on the balance beam," Patterson said. "We didn't count a fall, but it wasn't the best we could do. We let the score go apart just a little bit."
Junior Kayla Hoffman won the all-around with a career-high 39.5 followed by senior Morgan Dennis with a 39.425 in second and senior Ricki Lebegern with a 39.375 in the third. Senior Kassi Price shared top honors on the uneven bars with OU's Holly Vise. Vise also won the vault and balance beam. Sooner Jackie Flanery took first on the floor exercise.
"In three events, I felt like we did a great job," Patterson said. "We did not stick our vaults like we did last week at Kentucky, but they scored well because they were so big. I give a lot of credit to Oklahoma; they had tonight marked on their calendar and they were ready to do a great job. They are an extremely talented team, one through six, on every event and they performed nearly flawlessly tonight."
The Tide closed out the night on the balance beam with a 49.075, led by 9.875s from Hoffman and Price. It was a career-high score for Hoffman and a season high for Price. Oklahoma scored a 49.450 on the beam.
The Tide started off the night by posting its second highest uneven bars total of the season, a 49.425, led by a 9.925 from Price and 9.9s from Geralen Stack-Eaton and Hoffman. For Price, it was a season high, while Stack-Eaton and Hoffman both tied their season high. Lebegern posted a season-high 9.85. The Sooners posted a 49.375 on the bars.
On the vault, Alabama scored a 49.425 behind 9.9s from Stack-Eaton, Hoffman and Dennis. Freshman Ashley Sledge made her competitive debut on the vault, posting a 9.85. The Sooners started the night off with a season-high 49.5 on the vault.
In the third rotation, Alabama posted a 49.350 behind Dennis' 9.925 and Stack-Eaton's 9.9. Sophomore Erika Pearson scored a career-high 9.85, a mark matched by Lebegern.
"We're going to take the positives from tonight - the way we performed on three events and the way people stepped in for Ashley Priess tonight; Ashley Sledge on the vault for the first time tonight, Erika Pearson doing a great job on the floor and getting Kassi Price back out there on the uneven bars and balance beam," Patterson said.
Sophomore All-American Ashley Priess did not make the trip with the Crimson Tide after coming down with a case of the flu early in the week.
"While we were not 100 percent, we got a great road score," Patterson said. "This will motivate our ladies to perform better on the beam and in general, knowing that on any given night if you don't perform at your best, there's a team out there that can beat you."
After taking next weekend off from competition, Alabama returns to action Friday, March 19 against No. 12 Michigan. It will be Senior Night for the Crimson Tide, and the final meet of the regular season. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) and online at RollTide.com.
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