Alabama gymnastics posts highest road score of season but still loses top-10 matchup to LSU

Mikey DiLullo
The Tuscaloosa News

Heading into a matchup against No. 5 LSU on Friday at Pete Maravich Assembly Center, No. 8 Alabama gymnastics had a a chance to make a statement.

Instead, the Crimson Tide (4-4, 2-3 SEC) fell into an early hole as the Tigers (3-1, 3-1 SEC) took a two-tenths lead in the first rotation. While the gap would remain the same through two rotations,

LSU expanded its lead after its balance beam rotation thanks to a perfect 10 from Kiya Johnson. Alabama was unable to come back, falling 198.05-197.6.

Here's what we learned:

No Makarri Doggette

Following Doggette's injury in the Power of Pink meet against Georgia, her status for Friday night was up in the air. While Alabama coach Dana Duckworth hinted she might compete against LSU in a limited capacity, Doggette did not make an appearance.

Alabama gymnast Luisa Blanco performs on the floor in the Power of Pink meet with the University of Georgia Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Coleman Coliseum. Alabama won the meet with a score of 197.475 to 196.800.

Alabama struggles with falls

On each of Alabama's first three rotations, the Crimson Tide had one gymnast fall during her routine. Shania Adams made an error on uneven parallel bars, resulting in a 9.35. On vault, Mati Waligora was unable to stick the landing, resulting in a 9.375. Finally, Emily Gaskins fell out of bounds on floor exercise, resulting in a 9.05.

While each of these scores would be dropped, LSU was able to establish momentum following each mistake.

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Near-perfect balance beam

Despite struggles throughout the first three rotations, Alabama had it all come together on the balance beam, with all six gymnasts posting scores of 9.9 or better.

Ella Burgess, Shallon Olsen and Lexi Graber all scored 9.9s, Waligora and Lilly Hudson both added 9.925s, and Luisa Blanco closed the meet with a 9.975.

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What's next

Alabama returns home next week to host Missouri.