Gymnastics Scores Season High in Victory
BATON ROUGE - The 10th-ranked LSU gymnastics team scored a 49.125 or higher in all four events on the way to a season-high total in a 196.925-195.525 upset over No. 6 Oregon State in front of 5,641 fans inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Friday.
LSU (6-4-1) improved to 5-0 on the season at home, and the Tigers celebrated victory at the Third Annual Etta James Memorial Meet where it was announced that the community raised $38,366 for Foundation 56, an organization started by former LSU football player Bradie James.
In three years, the Tigers have partnered with Bradie James to raise more than $120,000 for Foundation 56's fight against breast cancer in the Baton Rouge and Dallas, Texas communities.
"The whole community and the Bengal Belles are so involved with us and Bradie in the Etta James Memorial meet," head coach D-D Breaux said. "This meet gives back to the community and the underserved women of this community who need support to detect and fight breast cancer."
Not only did LSU score above a 49 in each event, the Tigers posted a season-best 49.250 on beam.
"We were aggressive tonight in the meet, especially on beam, and that was the message we have been carrying through practice," Breaux said. "We have been demanding 9.825 and 9.85 performances in practice, and we approached that tonight. It was very gratifying for the team."
Individually, senior All-American Susan Jackson - ranked No. 1 nationally in the all-around - claimed her eighth all-around title of the season with a 39.650 total.
LSU took a commanding lead, 49.225-48.350, after the first rotation because Oregon State had to count a fall when the leadoff and final competitors fell.
On vault, Kayla Rogers led off for LSU with a 9.80, and Sabrina Franceschelli followed with a 9.775. Ashley Lee scored a 9.85, and the Tigers dropped Gloria Johnson's 9.75. Ericka Garcia tallied a career-high 9.875, and Jackson captured the vault title with a 9.925.
Oregon State (10-2) fell to open on bars as Whitney Watson scored a 9.025. Mandi Rodriguez, Jen Kesler and Laura Ann Chong tallied scores of 9.80 or higher before Makayla Stambaugh wrapped up the event with a 9.150.
The Tigers increased the lead after the second rotation with a season-high tying 49.325 on bars to Oregon State's 49.100 on vault.
Franceschelli's opening 9.775 was dropped as freshman Shelby Prunty followed with a 9.80, Garcia tallied a career-high 9.875 and Samantha Engle posted a 9.825. Jackson anchored the event with a 9.90, but two-time bars All-American Summer Hubbard won the title with an outstanding 9.925.
Oregon State's Rodriguez tied Jackson for the vault title with a 9.925, and Stambaugh and Becky Colvin also led with a 9.825.
The Beavers narrowed the gap slightly after the third rotation with a 49.300 on floor as LSU scored a 49.250 on beam. The Tigers led, 147.800-146.225, after three rotations.
On beam, Prunty led off with a 9.775, and Johnson earned a 9.80 to give the Tigers a strong start. Garcia slipped for a 9.675, but Hubbard responded for a season-high tying 9.85. For the second-straight week Engle posted a career-high on beam as she crushed her former high with a 9.925 to win the event title. Jackson anchored beam with a 9.90.
Oregon State received a 9.875 from Colvin and Melanie Jones as well as a 9.90 from Stambaugh on floor, but Rodriguez stepped out of bounds for a 9.80 in the final spot for the Beavers.
LSU cemented the victory in the fourth rotation and nearly tallied a 197 team total. Oregon State counted a fall on beam to finish with a 48.775 in the event while the Tigers scored a 49.125 on floor.
Rogers led off with a 9.80, and Lee set a new career high with a 9.825. Franceschelli posted a 9.75, Hubbard earned a 9.825 and Engle tallied a 9.75 after she stepped out of bounds.
Needing a perfect 10.0 for LSU to earn a 197 team total, Jackson turned in a near-flawless performance with a 9.925 score for the event title.
Rodriguez, ranked seventh nationally in the all-around, finished second in the all-around with a 39.400 while Stambaugh finished third with a 38.150.
LSU will put its 5-0 home record on the line one final time next week on March 12 when the Tigers play host to Iowa.
"Senior Night is next week against Iowa, and it is always exciting and sad because we have a great senior class," Breaux said. "We have a tremendous amount of alums coming back next week, so it is overwhelming for us. We hope the fans come out to support this tremendous group of seniors next week."
The meet will begin at 7 p.m. in the Maravich Center.
1. LSU 196.925 (VT - 49.225, UB - 49.325, BB - 49.250, FX - 49.125)
2. Oregon State 195.525 (VT - 49.100, UB - 48.350, BB - 48.775, FX - 49.300)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)
All-Around - 1. Susan Jackson 39.650
Vault - t1. Susan Jackson 9.925; t1. Mandi Rodriguez 9.925; 3. Ericka Garcia 9.875; 4. Ashley Lee 9.85; t7. Kayla Rogers 9.80; 9. Sabrina Franceschelli 9.775; 10. Gloria Johnson 9.75