BATON ROUGE - With season-high event totals on bars, beam and floor, the LSU gymnastics team rolled to a season-best 196.350, but fifth-ranked Georgia scored a 196.500 to win the meet Friday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
A raucous crowd of 4,460, the fifth-largest in school history, watched great performances from LSU all night, including a third-straight all-around victory for freshman Sarie Morrison who racked up a career-high 39.575.
Once again the Baton Rouge community worked with the gymnastics team to raise $52,180 for Bradie James' Foundation 56 to fight breast cancer in the local community. It is the highest total donated to the foundation in the four years the gym team and James have worked together.
"Our goal was to break 196 because we know what this team is capable of and we see it in practice," head coach D-D Breaux said. "We feel like we are passing through this ranking and establishing ourselves as a team that starts slow and finishes faster in the end. Tonight will be the beginning of us being able to push forward a little more."
LSU (2-7, 0-4 SEC) trailed by .350 entering the final rotation, and the Tigers mounted a furious comeback after starting slowly on floor, led by freshman Maliah Mathis' outstanding 9.975 to anchor the event. Mathis became the seventh gymnast in school history to earn the near-perfect score.
Georgia (7-3, 3-2) got out to an early lead with a 49.225 on bars while LSU posted a 49.050 on vault. Ericka Garcia led off with a 9.70, and Sarah Zoldos followed with a 9.75. The bottom of the lineup picked up great scores as Lee tallied a 9.85, Mathis tied her season best with a 9.825 and Morrison posted a career-high 9.925.
No. 21 LSU tied its season high on bars with a 49.0, led by Morrison's 9.875, Engle's season-high 9.825 and 9.80's by Shelby Prunty and Dickson. The Tigers also counted Zoldos' 9.70. The Gym Dogs posted a 49.025 on vault to maintain a slim two tenths lead, 98.250-98.050.
In the third rotation LSU tied its season best on beam with a 49.025, led by Engle's season-high 9.90 and Morrison's career-high 9.875. Dickson tied her best with a 9.825, Prunty posted a 9.725 and Ericka Garcia anchored with a 9.70.
Trailing Georgia 147.425-147.075, the Tigers rallied to outscore the Gym Dogs 49.275-49.075 in the final rotation, but LSU came up short by .150 to reach the final score.
Morrison picked up three individual titles on the night to give her 10 this season. Not only did she win her third-straight all-around title, but she also claimed her third vault title of the season and fourth bars crown. Engle's 9.90 is her first title of the season and her fifth career beam title. Mathis captured her fourth-straight floor title with the 9.975.
"Going into the gym and hitting routines makes me feel more confident for the competitions," Morrison said. "It was really an exciting moment to win the all-around again."
LSU heads to Lexington, Ky., to face Kentucky Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. CT in Memorial Coliseum.
1. Georgia 196.500 (VT - 49.025, UB - 49.225, BB - 49.075, FX - 49.175)
2. LSU 196.350 (VT - 49.050, UB - 49.000, BB - 49.025, FX - 49.275)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)