Streak continues with 112th straight win over AuburnBy Kayla Montgomery | 03/08/2015 10:39pm
Entering the final rotation in their second meeting of the season, this time in Birmingham rather than Coleman Coliseum, the Crimson Tide and Tigers were tied at a score of 148.000. On the floor exercise, Alabama’s top-ranked apparatus, three athletes stepped out of bounds, resulting in the team’s lowest score of the season. But a 9.925 from Mackenzie Brannan, a 9.95 from Lauren Beers and a 9.9 for Carley Sims balanced the step outs and clinched the meet for Alabama.
“The girls never gave up,” head coach Dana Duckworth said. “They decided they were going to be exceptional till the end, and they just kept fighting and kept pushing. You couldn’t ask for a more exciting meet, going into the last rotation completely tied.”
The meet was Alabama’s first on podium this season, changing the feel from a regular-season meet where the apparatus are set up directly on the floor. While the podium setup added pressure and bounce on the floor exercise, the podium fit well for the Crimson Tide on the uneven bars. The team posted a 49.525 on the apparatus, its highest bar score this season.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Lauren, Mack and Carley, delivering floor routines under extreme pressure, basically having to clinch the meet with that,” Duckworth said. “I feel like it was awesome on bars that we had our season high and we’re just building on the success of that, and it just has to do with stuck landings.”
Alabama opened the meet with a 49.250 on vault and trailed the Tigers after the first rotation before taking the lead in the second rotation with its top uneven bar score and posting a 49.225 on the balance beam in its third rotation. Despite watching her teammates struggle on the final and deciding apparatus, Beers said she remained calm and trusted in the team’s ability.
“We just know we have each others’ backs, so we weren’t even worried about it,” she said. “I knew when I was going up there I was going to do it for my team, and I just knew that I was going to do what I know how to do in practice and it was all going to be just fine.”
Not only did the meet help to prepare the team for the SEC Championship meet in two weeks where it will again compete on podium, Duckworth said, but it also provided valuable experience for how to respond in meets that come down to the wire.
“We’ve been in both situations at the national championship– we have gone into beam and won the national championship last event on beam, and we’ve been on floor and won the national championship on floor,” she said. “Both teams grew tonight because of the experience we just had.”
Sunday’s victory was Alabama’s second victory of the weekend after it beat Missouri in Columbia on Friday 197.350-195.275. It will return to action Friday, hosting No. 1 Oklahoma in Tuscaloosa in its final meet of the regular season.