By (Terrin Waack)

Although its overall score marked a new season-high and the best road score in the country this season, the No. 5 Alabama gymnastics team lost to the No. 1 Florida Gators on Friday night, 198.175 to 197.525.

Despite the loss, the Crimson Tide was also able to post the fifth highest balance beam score in school history with a 49.550, and after having three gymnasts fall during their beam performances over a week ago at home against Arkansas, Alabama coach Dana Duckworth was proud of her team regardless of the night’s outcome.

“I’m so proud of the persistence, power and fierce grace that our team displayed (Friday night),” she said “We came back from last week’s beam performance, competed like rock stars in front of a very vocal crowd here on the road.”

Junior Keely McNeer took the beam first for Alabama and scored a 9.875. Junior Katie Bailey, who scored a 9.85, followed McNeer. Before sophomore Nickie Guerrero finished off the rotation with a 9.9, senior Lauren Beers scored a 9.950, tying her career-best, and junior Aja Sims scored a 9.975, setting a new career-best.

The Crimson Tide started the night out on a good note. It scored a 49.325 on the uneven bars, another season-best. Sophomore Mackenzie Brannan tied her career-best 9.9.

Alabama then scored a 49.200 on the vault and a 49.450 on the floor exercise.

Its final floor score was its second highest of the season, and the highest it has scored on the road. Sophomore Kiana Winston led Alabama on the floor with a 9.925, a career-best.

Beers led Alabama on the bars with a 9.925 and on the vault with a 9.9. In the end, she took second on the all-around with a 39.650, which tied her career-best.

Alabama had five career-best scores of gymnasts either tied or broken.

“The best part is that as good as we were (Friday night), we still have room for improvement,” Duckworth said.

Alabama (2-3, 2-2 SEC) will host Kentucky on Feb. 5 for its 12th annual Power of Pink meet at 7:30 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports