LSU Gymnastics Defeats Auburn

LSU all-around freshman Kiya Johnson waits to perform her routine during the Tigers' 196.575- 196.275 win over Auburn on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in the PMAC.

LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux often emphasizes the law of holes: “when you find yourself in one, stop digging.”

That’s what happened Friday night in a losing effort against Alabama in the PMAC.

The Tigers got off to a limping start on vault, but stopped digging and battled after to ultimately fall 196.4250-196.775 to the Crimson Tide.

“They did all they could after vaulting, with a couple of walk ons in vaulting and Ruby was guilty of trying too hard,” Breaux said. “You just don’t want to try because when you start trying, you start failing.”

Freshman Kiya Johnson had a meet-high 9.95, on her way to an all-around title of 39.600, but three other Tigers scored below 9.80 for a total vault score of 48.750.

With senior Kennedi Edney limited for the night and junior Sarah Edwards out for three weeks with an ankle injury, LSU had to go deep into the depth charts. Freshmen Lexie Nibbs hit a 9.775 and Rebecca D’Antonio hit a 9.65.

Senior Ruby Harrold uncharacteristically fell on her vault, causing the Tigers to count one of the other lower scores.

“I think Alabama set their sights set when they realized we didn’t have our real vaulting lineup in there,” Breaux said. “I call it blood in the water. It was kind of like a shark frenzy. They really went after it at that point and gave them a little bit of extra confidence.”

Breaux said Edney has a slight sprain in her elbow and couldn’t extend it to go on vault or bars. She competed on both beam and floor exercise.

The Tigers took a step forward on the uneven bar the following event. Johnson and junior Sami Durante both score 9.875s, while Harrold redemed herself and put up a 9.90 in the anchor spot.

Freshman Alyona Shchennikova hit her first full bars routine as at Tiger for a 9.80 in the fifth spot.

LSU trailed just 98.325-98.000 after two rotations.

The Tigers remained consistent on beam, despite some scoring discrepancies, with no gymnast scoring below a 9.80. Edney and junior Reagan Campbell scored 9.875s in the fourth and sixth spots to tie for the team high.

Breaux said she though Campbell’s routine was the best beam work of the night and she was not happy with the scoring on the night. One judge gave Campbell 9.95 and the other a 9.80.

“Water is wet, rocks are hard and we move on,” Breaux said.

Johnson once again led the Tigers on floor, scoring her third straight 9.975 on the event, but it still wasn’t enough to pull the Tigers to victory. Breaux said she thought the routine deserved a 10, but Johnson wasn’t sure herself.

“I’m very pleased with the amount of fight that I saw in this team,” Breaux said. “They vault last week in a losing effort at Florida. The fight and the consistent momentum and trying to keep this thing moving forward and always thinking the next person is going to help us get the victory soon.

“That’s something that a lot of teams don’t learn and this team I think gets it. Understands the fight throughout the entire competition. I’m disappointed with the loss, but there were some silver linings in some of those dark clouds.”

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