By (Terrin Waack)

Alabama gymnastics coach Dana Duckworth said Friday’s meet against Missouri was going to be for the team’s fans, and after the meet’s final scores were announced, the cheers in Coleman Coliseum showed just that.

The No. 6 Crimson Tide defeated the No. 14 Tigers by more than a full point, 197.175 to 196.050

The meet marked Alabama’s home and SEC opener for the 2016 season.

“I was a little nervous about the six o’clock start. I’m not going to lie” Duckworth said. “I didn’t know what that would do for our fans, and our fans showed up and it made it such an electric environment for our ladies to be a part [of].”

Although Duckworth said the team couldn’t find its “We love students” signs, she wants the students to know the team loves them and wants to see them back again.

After losing against UCLA on Sunday, Duckworth didn’t want fans to be discouraged – it doesn’t mean Alabama isn’t a good team. It’s not about the number of wins and losses, she said. It’s about the team’s scores during each meet, and it increased its 196.300 score against UCLA to its 197.175 score against Missouri.

“Our goal [Friday] was to have a better performance than we did last week, and we really were able to accomplish that,” she said.

Alabama improved in all but one event – balance beam. It increased its score on the vault by 0.65, finishing with a 49.350, on the uneven bars by 0.050, finishing with a 49.175, and on the floor by 0.2, finishing with a 49.500. It scored a 49.150 on the beam.

Duckworth was happy the team was able to score at least 49 in each event.

“The ladies worked very hard and very specific this week on what we needed to do to go into this double weekend,” Duckworth said.

During the meet’s first rotation, senior Lauren Beers scored a 9.900 on the vault and took second in the even, followed by sophomore Kiana Winston, who scored a 9.875.

Junior Amanda Jetter took first on the uneven bars with a 9.875, while junior Keely McNeer came in at third with a 9.850.

Although Alabama did not improve its score on the beam from its previous meet, it still had McNeer and Beers place in second and third, falling behind Missouri’s Britney Ward’s 9.925.

“It’s literally about making improvements every day and just getting better,” Duckworth said.

For its highest event score of the night, Alabama had four gymnasts come in the top five. Jetter and Beers were at the top of the list, both scoring a 9.950.

Alabama (1-1) will travel to Birmingham to meet Auburn University on Sunday at 3 p.m.

“We are looking to staying in our bubble, not getting distracted and truly trusting one routine at a time,” Duckworth said.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports