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March 9, 2013

Gymnastics takes down LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. | In front of an LSU-record 8,574 fans, the No. 5 University of Alabama gymnastics team put up its best score of the season to upend No. 4 LSU, which also put up its best score of the season, in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Friday night, 197.725-197.5.

"It was just an extraordinary night of college gymnastics," Alabama coach Sarah Patterson said. "It was loud, it was rocking and both teams put up great performances."

Even a perfect 10 by LSU's Lloimincia Hall in the Tiger's final routine wasn't enough to derail the Crimson Tide after senior Ashley Priess closed out UA's 49.35 on the balance beam with a meet-high 9.95. Priess' mark, which tied her career-best score on the beam, followed a 9.925 by junior Kim Jacob and a 9.85 from junior Diandra Milliner

"The pressure was on Ashley (Priess) just like it was at the national championships last year and she came through, like she always does in these situations," Patterson said.

The Crimson Tide got the night started with its second-highest uneven bars total of the season, a 49.350, led by Priess' winning 9.925, which tied her career-best score. Senior Ashley Sledge got things started with a season-best 9.9 on the bars while senior Becca Alexin tied her season best of 9.85, a score matched by sophomore Kaitlyn Clark.

Sophomore Kayla Williams highlighted a season-best 49.525 team vault score with a career-best 9.975. Freshmen Carley Sims and Laruen Beers both chipped in career-best scores on the vault, going 9.875 and 9.925, respectively.

The Crimson Tide kept things rolling in the third rotation, tying its season best on the floor exercise with a 49.5, led by Jacob's 9.95, 9.9s from Milliner and junior Sarah DeMeo and 9.875s from Beers and Priess.

Friday night was also LSU's "pink" meet, raising awareness in the fight against breast cancer. The Tigers generated $108,000 for its sixth-annual Etta James Meet which benefits Foundation 56's efforts to fight breast cancer in Louisiana. The Crimson Tide is 20-0 when competing in pink, including a 3-0 mark this season.

Alabama closes out its regular season at home next Friday against No. 2 Oklahoma.

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