Gymnastic Hosts Oregon St. for Etta James Meet
BATON ROUGE - The 10th-ranked LSU gymnastics team has posted four-straight scores above 196, and the Tigers will look to carry the momentum into the Third Annual Etta James Memorial Meet against sixth-ranked Oregon State at 7 p.m. Friday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (5-4-1, 2-3-1 Southeastern Conference) has teamed up with former LSU linebacker and current Dallas Cowboy Bradie James to co-host the Etta James Memorial meet to raise funds for James' Foundation 56, an organization established in 2007 to provide women with access to breast cancer screenings and treatment.
Tickets to the meet are only $1, and LSU gymnastics has a goal of 8,000 fans for the meet because if 8,000 fans show up a sizable donation will be given to Foundation 56 in its effort to fight breast cancer. Last year, Tiger fans and the Baton Rouge community raised more than $50,000 for Foundation 56, and the goal was upped to $56,000 this year.
Donations can be made at the Maravich Center, and fans will receive a Foundation 56 bracelet with a $1 donation, a Foundation 56 string bag with a $5 donation, a Foundation 56 t-shirt with a $10 donation and all the items with a donation of $20.
The meet is packed with promotions, including "lucky seats of the house" where two lucky fans will have the opportunity to watch the meet with Bradie James close to the action. Dragon Master Showcase, a dance group shown on NBC's "America's Got Talent," will also perform after the meet.
"There is a lot of buzz and anxiousness from our gymnasts about the meet because of what this meet means to us and to the community," head coach D-D Breaux said. "I have seen a lot of focus from our girls because it has been a demanding three weeks for the team in practice, and last week in Georgia with the big crowd matured this team."
The Tigers enter the meet after two weeks on the road, and they will look for a season-high score in order to beat the Beavers.
All-American senior Susan Jackson earned the No. 1 all-around ranking for the seventh-straight week, a school record, and she will contend for her eighth all-around title of the season.
LSU owns a 9-6-1 record against Oregon State, and the Tigers have won the last four matchups with the Beavers, including last season's 196.875-196.800 tilt at the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio.
This will mark only the second time the two teams have faced each other in Baton Rouge with the first meeting coming in 1980 when LSU hosted the AIAW National Championships.
The Tigers will rely on seniors Sabrina Franceschelli, Summer Hubbard and Kayla Rogers to lead LSU against the Beavers, and the Tigers will also look to junior Samantha Engle who scored a career-high 9.875 on beam last week.
Oregon State (10-1, 5-1 Pac-10) is led by senior All-American Mandi Rodriguez who is ranked seventh in the all-around with a 39.370 RQS. Two Beavers are ranked in each event except floor where Rodriguez is ranked eighth with a 9.890 RQS.
Freshman Makayla Stambaugh has also been outstanding for Oregon State, but she has not competed in the all-around since Feb. 12.
"I am expecting to have the best meet we have had all season long," Breaux said. "The coaching staff has done a tremendous job as every aspect of what we are doing has been meticulous, and I expect our performance to reflect that."
The meet will be broadcast on a tape delay basis by Cox Sports Television (cable channel 37 in Baton Rouge), and the first air date is set for March 13 at 5:30 p.m.
Tiger fans can also catch live video and stats on LSUsports.net, and fans can receive live updates and notes about the meet by following LSUgym on www.twitter.com/lsugym.