Gymnastics holds off Kentucky

TUSCALOOSA, ALA -- Despite struggling through its first three rotations, the No. 3 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team pulled out a 196.425-195.125 win over Kentucky.

"We got a little rattled early and we didn't really recover from that," head coach Sarah Patterson said. "I was very pleased with how our fans helped carry us through though. They really did their best to lift us up and put us back on our feet."

Alabama counted a fall in its total for the first time since the season opening Super Six Challenge when the first two athletes on the uneven bars fell. The Tide has scant time to recover with arch-rival Georgia coming in town next Saturday (March 15).

Junior All-American Jeana Rice was solid for the Crimson Tide, posting a meet-best 39.575 in the all-around, sparked by a career best 9.975 on the vault.

Despite a rough first three-quarters of the meet, Alabama did finish off with a flourish, posting a 49.600 on the floor exercise, it's second highest floor score of the season and fourth best all-time. The Tide's run was sparked by a 9.925 from freshman Michelle Reeser. Junior Stephanie Kite followed Reeser with a 9.9 routine, setting the stage for freshman Ashley Miles return to the floor.

Last weekend Miles scored a 10.0 in her first vault in Coleman Coliseum. This weekend, she was pulled from the vault lineup after some troubles in warm-up, but she came back with a vengeance on the floor, scoring a 9.975 with a routine that brought the 6,881 Coleman Coliseum fans roaring to their feet. Rice capped the afternoon with a 9.925 on the floor. Kentucky scored a 49.025 on the floor exercise.

In addition to Rice's career mark on the vault, senior Kristin Sterner scored a 9.9 and sophomore Alexis Brion posted a 9.925 to lead the Tide to a 49.150. The Gym Kats scored a matching 49.150 on the vault.

After the two uneven bars falls that started the Tide out, Sterner brought the Tide some balance, scoring a 9.875, a score matched by freshman Larissa Stewart, leading the Tide to a season low 48.600 on the bars. Kentucky was just better than the Tide on the bars, going 48.775.

On the balance beam, Alabama didn't have a fall, but still scored its second lowest mark of the season, a 49.075 despite a 9.9 from freshman Dana Pierce. A pair of falls dropped Kentucky to a 48.175 team score.

Alabama's last regular season home meet is next Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m. against the Lady Dogs. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) or online at www.rolltide.com.


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