TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – After a close loss at No. 5 LSU last week, the Alabama Crimson Tide came back to Coleman Coliseum with only two home meets left on the season. The Tide looked to bounce back with a win over the No. 9 Missouri Tigers.
Shallon Olsen kicked off the night with a 9.850 after a double-twisting Yurchenko on the vault. Kaylee Quinn and Luisa Blanco kept the pressure on the Tigers with season-highs from both gymnasts. The Tigers struggled on the first rotation, and the Crimson Tide had a .325 lead heading into the second.
Makarri Doggette returned to the lineup for the Tide on the uneven bars after missing last week’s match from a sprain against Georgia. Doggette did not miss a beat as she scored a 9.900 followed by 9.950 from Luisa Blanco in the anchor spot. Missouri’s Grace Anne Davis set a new career-high with a 9.850. Jocelyn Moore anchored the Tigers with a 9.925. Alabama led 98.700-98.250 at the halfway point of the competition.
The Tide had several mistakes on the balance beam rotation, including a fall from the three-time SEC Freshman of the Week, Lily Hudson. Blanco, Ella Burgess and Lexi Graber posted 9.900 scores to add to the lead. Despite the lead, the Tigers would not go down without a fight as they posted several strong floor performances heading into the final rotation.
Helen Hu and Davis kept the Tigers alive with strong beam performances and scores above 9.900. Blanco finished the night with a 9.950 on the floor, followed by a near-perfect routine from Graber (9.975).
Alabama head coach Dana Duckworth talked about how important it is to move on after a mistake and how mentally tough the team is.
“I think that we continue to build an unbelievable amount of team resilience, and it happens because someone has an error and bounces back, and that is how you develop more mental toughness. At the same time, ladies that are stepping in after a mistake, their best is required at that moment, and they continue to find that extra notch. I think we’re in a good place, but at the same time we’re ready to hit 24-for-24,” Duckworth said.
Alabama beat the Tigers 197.500-196.775. Next week, the Arkansas Razorbacks will come to town for the final home meet of the season. The team will look to send off the seniors with a win on Senior Night. The matchup will start at 7 p.m. next week and will air on the SEC Network+.