BATON ROUGE - It came down to the final performers for each team, and in the end it was the eighth-ranked LSU gymnastics team that rallied for the upset win over No. 3 Florida, 196.875-196.575, in front of 4,074 fans Friday night inside the Maravich Center.
With the raucous crowd cheering her on, Lloimincia Hall nailed her floor routine to score a 9.95 and give the Tigers the win after Florida's final performer Marissa King slipped off the beam, forcing the Gators to count a fall.
For LSU (2-0, 1-0 SEC), the win snaps an eight-meet losing streak against Florida dating back to 2009, and the victory increases LSU's record to 14-10 against Florida in the Maravich Center.
The 196.875 marks LSU's highest team score since a 197.150 against Iowa on March 12, 2010, and it is the highest-ranked win for the Tigers since LSU beat No. 1 Alabama 196.475-196.050 on Feb. 5, 2010.
"We beat an outstanding Florida team that has vied for the national title the last three years, so we are extremely proud," LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. "We worked hard, we stayed in the process and we carried the same message throughout our training. It showed tonight that our team has a lot of desire and heart."
LSU opened the meet with a 49.300-49.250 lead after the first rotation. Rheagan Courville and Sarie Morrison posted 9.90's on vault to lead the way, followed by 9.85's from Maliah Mathis and Jessica Savona and a 9.80 from Lloimincia Hall.
Florida (1-1, 0-1) took the lead after the second rotation 98.625-98.475, but the Tigers earned a solid 49.175 on bars to stay within striking distance. Jessie Jordan led off bars with a career-high 9.825, and Mckenzie Fox registered a career-best 9.80 in the second spot. Lloimincia Hall posted a 9.825, while Rheagan Courville scored a 9.825 and Sarie Morrison anchored with a 9.90 to tie for the event title with Florida's Kytra Hunter.
The teams remained close after three rotations with the Gators leading 147.800-147.550 after LSU tallied a 49.075 on beam and Florida scored a 49.175 on floor. Ericka Garcia opened up with a 9.80 on beam, and Kaleigh Dickson followed with a 9.775. Savona posted a season-high 9.825, and Hall tied her career-best with a 9.875 after a fantastic stuck dismount. Courville earned a 9.80 to give the Tigers their final counting score.
In the final rotation, Dickson got the Tigers off to a great start on floor with a 9.825, and Jordan posted a 9.80 in the second spot. Savona fell and finished with a 9.250, and in the same spot in the rotation Florida's Bridget Sloan fell off beam to score a 9.350.
Neither team could afford another fall, and LSU's final three performers delivered outstanding routines. Mathis scored a 9.85, while Courville tallied a 9.90 and Hall produced the 9.95 to win the floor title. Florida received a 9.90 from Hunter and a 9.95 from Mackenzie Caquatto before King fell to finish with a 9.225. In the final rotation, LSU outscored Florida 49.325-48.775 to pull off the comeback win.
Hall's floor title is her first of the season and the eighth of her career in the event. The bars title is the second of the year for Morrison and the 10th of her career. Hall finished second in the all-around with a career-high tying 39.450, and Courville placed third with a 39.425. Florida's Hunter captured the all-around crown with a 39.675.
LSU will go on the road for the first time next week when the Tigers travel to face No. 1 Alabama at 7:30 p.m. CT on Jan. 18.
Fans can listen to the meet for free in the Geaux Zone on www.LSUsports.net.
1. LSU 196.9875 (VT - 49.300, UB - 49.175, BB - 49.075, FX - 49.325)
2. Florida 196.575 (VT - 49.375, UB - 49.250, BB - 48.775, FX - 49.175)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)