BATON ROUGE – In front of a season-opening record home crowd of 8,228 fans, the fifth-ranked LSU gymnastics team fought from behind to take down No. 1 Oklahoma, 196.950-196.725, Saturday afternoon in the Maravich Center.
LSU improved to 17-0 in the last three seasons at home and 5-3-1 against the nation’s No. 1 ranked team in the Maravich Center since 1997.
LSU (1-0) outscored Oklahoma (0-1) 49.475-49.200 in the fourth and final rotation to complete the comeback victory and send the Maravich Center crowd into a frenzy.
“What a tremendous team effort today. The one word we try to rally around this year is ‘together,’ and it was important for the people on the apparatus to feel like their teammates were with them,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “The enthusiasm and energy this whole team brought to the arena today was exemplary. It’s cool to be in a position where you can let yourself have a great time, and this team is really cool.”
The meet was tight throughout as LSU led after the first rotation by a tenth and a half. Oklahoma led after the second and third rotations by half a tenth.
A strong final rotation on floor by LSU catapulted the Tigers to victory over the Sooners, LSU’s fourth-straight victory in a season opener.
LSU opened with a 49.250 on vault, highlighted by 9.90’s from Randii Wyrick and Ashleigh Gnat. Myia Hambrick nailed her vault for a 9.875 to finish right behind Wyrick and Gnat. Sydney Ewing added a 9.80, and Lexie Priessman earned a 9.775 to round out the scoring.
The Tigers led Oklahoma 49.250-49.100 heading into the second rotation. Sarah Finnegan and Shae Zamardi led the way for LSU on bars with matching 9.85s, followed by 9.775s from Hambrick and Jessica Savona. Wyrick’s 9.725 finished off the scoring to give the Tigers a 48.975 on bars.
The margin between the two teams remained slim after two as Oklahoma took a 98.275-98.225 lead.
LSU posted a 49.250 on beam in the third rotation, led by a 9.925 from Finnegan and a 9.90 from Hambrick. Gnat anchored the event with a 9.875 to give the Tigers a solid score. Ewing earned a 9.825, and Priessman tallied a 9.725 to add to the team total.
Oklahoma matched the Tigers with a 49.250 of its own on floor, so LSU trailed 147.525-147.475 after three rotations.
LSU came from behind to win by outscoring Oklahoma 49.475-49.200 in the final rotation. Three Tigers scored a 9.90 or higher on floor, paced by Gnat who earned a 9.95 in the anchor spot. In the first official floor routine of her career, Zamardi rocked her routine to post a 9.925. Hambrick tallied a 9.90, while Wyrick added a 9.875 and Ewing opened with a 9.825.
Individually, Hambrick captured her first career all-around title with a 39.450. Gnat and Wyrick tied for the vault title with a 9.90, Finnegan won the beam crown with a 9.925 and Gnat tallied her second career floor title with a 9.95. Oklahoma’s McKenzie Wofford won the bars title with a 9.95.
“This team has worked hard, and their unity and honest with each other has really created a cohesive culture for us,” Breaux said. “This is a group of very, very high-achieving young ladies. As a coaching staff, we were extremely gratified with how this team handled itself today.”
LSU will head out to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Lady Luck Invitational when the Tigers take on North Carolina State (1-0) at 9 p.m. CT Thursday in South Point Hotel.
1. #5 LSU 196.950 (VT – 49.250, UB – 48.975, BB – 49.250, FX – 49.475)
2. #1 Oklahoma 196.725 (VT – 49.175, UB – 49.100, BB – 49.200, FX – 49.250)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)