BATON ROUGE – The No. 9 LSU Gymnastics team defeated No. 17 Georgia with a season high score of 197.700-196.925 in front of an electric crowd on Friday night in the PMAC.
“I’m really proud of this team. We continue to see their theme of their fight and it has become the team’s identity,” said head coach Jay Clark. “We put together one of our best floor rotations, minus one mistake that we’ve seen all year. I thought vault was outstanding from start to finish. Bars was a little less than where we have been in previous meets, but nonetheless still effective, and beam we continue to fight. We’ll feel good about this tonight and then get back to work on Sunday as we head into a big Auburn environment next week.”
“It was a great night. It was our highest score of the year and I’m impressed with the fans coming out again after the week that it’s been in the PMAC. We are so appreciative of them and the students for being so consistent this year. It’s been tremendous and that lifts us in ways that you can’t measure.”
A crowd of 12,099 fans showed out to watch the Tigers defeat the Bulldogs for the sixth-straight time in the PMAC. Sophomore Aleah Finnegan recorded her first career perfect 10 on floor to boost the Tigers to a season high floor score of 49.675 and help LSU secure the win..
LSU started off strong on vault, scoring a 49.475. Finnegan earned a 9.900 and junior Chase Broke put up a career high 9.95 to help the Tigers get off to a strong start after the first rotation. Sophomore KJ Johnson recorded a 9.875 and junior Haleigh Bryant anchored with a 9.975 of her own to take the title.
On bars, sophomore Alexis Jeffrey led off with a 9.900. Finnegan scored a 9.850 in the fourth spot while senior Alyona Shchennikova followed with a 9.875. Bryant anchored with a 9.900 to close the second rotation with a score of 49.300 and propel the squad into the third rotation. Jeffrey and Bryant, along with Georgia’s Haley De Jong, won the event with performances.
The Tigers lead the Bulldogs at the halfway point 98.775-98.300.
In the third rotation, Schennikova continued to bring the competition as she scored a 9.850. Bryant and Finnegan both recorded 9.900’s on beam to take the co-title as LSU scored a 49.250 for the third rotation.
LSU finished strong to secure the win in the final rotation. Both Shchennikova and Bryant scored a 9.925, while KJ Johnson matched her career high with her 9.950 routine. Finnegan earned her first career perfect score in the fifth spot to take the win. It was a season high performance from the floor squad.
Bryant finished the night with her sixth all-around title in six meets as she finished the night with a 39.700. Her performance against Georgia marked the second meet this season that she’s scored 9.900+ on all four events.
The junior continues to lead the all-around for the Tigers. Bryant is one of the top-5 gymnasts in the conference and ranks seventh in the country.
Finnegan’s 10 marks the first in her career and third title on floor this season. The sophomore finished the night with a career high all-around score of 39.650, placing her in the top-20 in the conference.
Shchennikova’s all-around score of 39.400 also recorded a season high for her. In her three appearances in the all-around this season, the senior earned her way to a top-10 performer in the conference.
The Tigers will be back in action on Friday, February 10, as they travel to take on Auburn for a 7:30 p.m. CT tilt on the SEC Network.