No. 5 LSU posts highest score in program history in huge win over No. 7 Arkansas

No. 2 LSU gymnastics heads to Fort Worth for the NCAA semifinals. PHOTO by LSU Athletics
Olivia Dunne floor routine vs Arkansas

No. 5 LSU dominated on Friday night to take down No. 7 Arkansas by a score of 198.475-196.200 inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU’s score on the night marked the highest in program history and is the highest in the nation by any team so far this year. The team’s 198.475 also ties for the 14th all-time best score in NCAA history.

“Well, we got better. That’s what this week was about. The focus and the main goal were to get a good performance, a complete performance,” Coach Jay Clark said.

“I know everyone wants to talk about the score tonight and that’s great. I do not focus on whether we get a low or high score. It’s about our performance. We did our job tonight and we can do that same performance somewhere else. For us it’s about keeping our eye on the next step ahead of us and just taking it one step at a time.”

The Tigers started the meet on vault with two 9.875’s from KJ Johnson and Aleah Finnegan while Amari Drayton followed with a 9.900. Savannah Schoenherr contributed a 9.800 and Kiya Johnson scored a 9.900. Haleigh Bryant matched her season high and posted a 9.975 in the anchor spot to finish as the top performer on the event.

LSU recorded a 49.525 in the first rotation to match their season high on vault and take the early lead on the night over Arkansas’ 48.175.

Alexis Jeffrey led off on bars in the second rotation with a solid 9.875. Ashley Cowan followed with a 9.775. Bryant and Johnson both posted 9.900’s for the Tigers. Konnor McClain posted a 9.925 for the second highest score on the night while Savannah Schoenherr led the bars squad with a season high 9.950 to take home the victory. The title marked the first of her LSU career.

LSU held onto the lead at the halfway point in the PMAC with a score of 99.075-97.375.

The Tigers rotated to beam, where Sierra Ballard got things started with a strong 9.900 performance. Jeffrey followed with a 9.875 and Kiya Johnson continued to take care of business with her third 9.900 of the night. Bryant and Finnegan posted scores of 9.950 and 9.900, while McClain earned a share of the top spot on the night after scoring a 9.975 for the Tigers. The beam victory marked McClain’s third title of her career and second on the event.

LSU posted a 49.625 in the third rotation to set a new season high and match the program’s sixth highest beam score. The Tigers led Arkansas 148.700-146.750 heading into the final rotation.

McClain continued her impressive night as she recorded a career high 9.975 in her first time leading off on floor. Fellow freshman Drayton followed in the second spot with a 9.900. Olivia Dunne matched her season high and contributed a 9.875 in the third spot. Finnegan posted a 9.925 just before Bryant recorded her second career perfect score on floor. Still with one routine to go, Kiya Johnson capped off the night in fashion with a nearly perfect 9.975 routine in the anchor spot.

Bryant’s perfect score on floor extended her lead as the gymnast with the most perfect 10’s in school history, now with 12 in her career.

The Tigers closed the night with a 49.775 on floor and matched the highest score in school history. To top it off, the PMAC saw another top-10 crowd as 12,538 fans showed out to watch LSU take home the victory on the night.

Four Tigers performed exhibition routines against the Razorbacks. Chase Brock posted a 9.800 on vault, Dunne and Drayton earned scores of 9.775 and 9.550 on bars, and Kylie Coen posted a 9.800 on beam and a 9.775 on floor.

Bryant’s performance on the night earned her three titles on vault, floor and the all-around. The senior finished the night with a season high 39.825 in the all-around and moved her career total to 69 titles, with 26 on vault and six on floor.

Johnson also finished the night with a season high 39.675 in the all-around against the Razorbacks as she recorded scores of 9.900+ on every event.

LSU travels to Athens next week as they take on Georgia on Friday, February 9 at 5 p.m. central on SEC Network.

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Tiger Rag News Services

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