BATON ROUGE, La. — Behind one of the best uneven bars performances in school history and a standout all-around performance from junior Sarah Finnegan, the No. 1 LSU gymnastics team bested No. 9 Alabama on Friday night to remain undefeated.
LSU posted the second-best bars score in school history with a 49.625 as all six gymnasts scored a 9.90 or better, with Finnegan closing out the routine with a 9.975. Behind the success of this rotation, LSU topped Alabama 197.450-196.725. Alabama was the 30th straight home opponent the Tigers defeated, a streak that has extended over the last five seasons.
The 49.625 on bars was the second-best score in school history, narrowly missing the record of 49.650 set in 2002 versus Kentucky. This was LSU’s second score of a 49.600 or better on bars this season, the first of which came in the season opener versus Arkansas.
“It’s the discipline they exhibit in practice and the demands that [assistant coach Jay Clark] makes on them in practice,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said of the showing on bars. “Of all the events, we probably do more numbers on that event because it’s not as pounding. Of course, it’s on their hands and their forearms, but they probably do more.”
In addition to leading the Tigers on bars, Finnegan also led the squad on vault with LSU’s only 9.90 score of the evening. Finnegan scored a 39.55 in the all-around, tying teammate Myia Hambrick for the best all-around showing of the night. Hambrick tied for the team lead on beam with a 9.875 and posted the Tigers’ best floor score of the night with a 9.950.
Competing on the floor for just the second time in her career, junior Julianna Cannamela anchored the floor routine, scoring a career-high 9.875 in the place of injured Kennedi Edney.
“I think she was feeling a lot of pressure,” Breaux said of Cannamela. “When Sarah Finnegan got done, I told Sarah, ‘Go get in her ear and let her know that she’s good. She’s got this.’ We see that in the gym. We see it in practice a lot. But the body of work isn’t there.”
Breaux was right. Cannamela confirmed that she felt the pressure, but she made it through.
“When I landed my last pass, I cried a little bit,” Cannamela said. “I was so happy. I knew I could do it. Like D-D told me before, I do it every day in practice. So before I went, I didn’t say anything. I just kept thinking about my routine and every skill; thinking of the 1-2-3.”
Freshmen Sami Durante, Christina Desiderio and Sarah Edwards showed their poise and talent Friday, posting career-high scores on bars, beam and floor, respectively. Durante led off LSU’s bars run with a 9.90, Desiderio tied for LSU’s top beam score with a 9.875 and Edwards followed up the Tigers’ lone fall on floor with a 9.875.
— LSU Gymnastics (@LSUgym) January 20, 2018
LSU reported 13,729 fans in attendance Friday night, breaking the program’s previous attendance record that was set the last time Alabama came to Baton Rouge.
“I landed every pass on my floor routine and it felt like I was in Tiger Stadium when it gets really loud in there,” Hambrick said. “They were just so excited to be there. It was so amazing. I think we definitely worked with it and used it well.”
LSU gymnastics final scores
- Julianna Cannamela: 9.85
- Sarah Finnegan: 9.90
- Ruby Harrold: 9.60
- Myia Hambrick: 9.80
- Sarah Edwards: 9.80
- Lexie Priessman: 9.80
- Total: 49.150
- Sami Durante: 9.90
- Myia Hambrick: 9.925
- Ruby Harrold: 9.90
- Kennedi Edney: 9.925
- Lexie Priessman: 9.90
- Sarah Finnegan: 9.975
- Total: 49.625
- Erin Macadaeg: 9.825
- Myia Hambrick: 9.875
- Kennedi Edney: 9.875
- Christina Desiderio: 9.875
- Reagan Campbell: 9.200
- Sarah Finnegan: 9.75
- Total: 49.200
- Ashlyn Kirby: 9.85
- Ruby Harrold: 8.925
- Sarah Edwards: 9.875
- Sarah Finnegan: 9.925
- Myia Hambrick: 9.95
- Julianna Cannamela: 9.875
- Total: 49.475
What’s next for LSU gymnastics?
The Tigers head to Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 27 for the Metroplex Challenge versus No. 33 NC State, No. 4 UCLA and No. 13 Washington. The meet will be streamed online through Flo Gymnastics.