Mistakes doom second-ranked LSU gymnasts in a loss at No. 6 Alabama

For the first time this season, the No. 2 ranked LSU gymnastics team fell behind early and couldn’t rally late in a 197.725-197.325 loss at No. 6 Alabama Friday.

It was the Tigers’ (4-2 overall, 3-2 SEC) second straight defeat after opening the season with four straight wins and it was LSU’s second consecutive loss to the Crimson Tide (5-1, 5-1 SEC).

“It boiled down to the mistakes we made,” LSU head coach Jay Clark said. “Credit to Alabama, they probably had their best meet of the year, we’ve grown accustomed to that. We get everybody’s best meet or high score of the year. That’s just the way it goes and we just need to get back in the gym and do better.”

A week after LSU had the third highest score in the nation this season in its narrow home loss to No. 1 Florida as well as 13 individual scores of 9.990 or better, the Tigers had just four scores of 9.90 or better vs. Alabama with two each by freshman Haleigh Bryant and senior Sarah Edwards.

LSU’s highest individual score was Bryant’s 9.950 in the floor exercise, the same event she slipped and fell on her final tumbling last Friday vs. Florida.

“We learned we need to be there for each other,” Bryant said, “like if one person goes down we kind of let it go down. We need to keep the energy high. If one routine was done (not well), we needed to move forward and I don’t think we did that tonight.”

LSU, ranked second nationally in the floor exercise and the beam, needed strong showings in those final events of the night. But Alabama won both as two of LSU’s highest scores of the night in the floor exercise by Bryant and Edwards couldn’t compensate for substandard performances from the first four Tigers’ in the floor ex lineup.

“The first four were a little rough, but Sarah and Haleigh came through for us,” Clark said. “They stopped the bleeding on the floor and settled us back down.

Alabama’s Luis Blanco won the all-around with a 39.825, the third best score in Crimson Tide history. She won the uneven parallel bars and the floor exercise and shared first in the floor exercise with teammate Lexi Graber.

Bryant was second in the all-around with a 39.600.

LSU travels to Kentucky next Friday for a 6 p.m. meet before closing the regular season March 5 at home vs. Missouri.

ALABAMA 197.725, LSU 197.325

Team scores by event

Vault: Alabama 49.450, LSU 49.325

Uneven parallel bars: LSU 49.375, Alabama 49.325

Balance Beam: Alabama 49.400, LSU 49.375

Floor exercise: Alabama 49.550, LSU 49.250

Individual event winners

Vault: Kaylee Quinn, Alabama 99.50

Bars: Luisa Blanco, Alabama 9.950

Floor exercise: Luisa Blanco, Alabama 9.975

Beam: Lexi Graber and Luis Blanco, Alabama 9.975

All-Around: Luis Blanco, Alabama 39.825

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Ron Higgins

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