FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Coming off a season-high score on Sunday against Missouri, LSU gymnasts were confident they had turned a corner.
The Tigers ran into some fatigue with their third meet in eight days but fought through it for a 197.125-196.375 win at No. 21 Arkansas on Friday, leaving coach D-D Breaux proud of her team’s toughness.
“The kids were obviously a little road-weary,” Breaux said. “We’ve had a lot going on in eight days. But they kept plugging, fought through the breaks (in routines), covered up things and pushed through the meet. We couldn’t ask them to give us more. I’m very pleased.”
The Tigers improved to 8-3 overall and evened their SEC record at 3-3 after an 0-2 start. Arkansas fell to 1-9 and 0-6.
LSU, which had scored 197.650 against Mizzou, didn’t knock many scores out of the park but was steady throughout, with enough clutch performances to overcome poor scores on uneven bars, floor and beam. The Tigers won every event but floor, scoring from a 49.375 on beam with a 49.300 on vault and 49.225s on bars and floor.
Senior All-American Sarah Finnegan once again led the way for LSU, but by her lofty standards ended the night on a sour note.
Finnegan won bars with a 9.925, shared the floor title with Arkansas’ Sophia Carter with a 9.95 (including a 10 from one judge) and won the all-around with a 39.375. However, Finnegan had an uncharacteristic big wobble on beam and scored only a 9.625, likely costing her the title in that event.
“Her foot missed the beam and she caught it with her second foot,” Breaux said. “She pulled her eyes off the beam for a fraction of a second. That’s fatigue. We get home and they’re going to get two good days of rest.”
Despite the big deduction on beam, Finnegan’s three wins gave her 74 for her LSU career, moving her into a tie with former two-time NCAA champion Susan Jackson for fifth place in school history. Finnegan has won 11 individual titles in the past eight days, competing in the all-around each time.
Junior Kennedi Edney shared first place on vault with Arkansas’ Kennedy Hambrick, both posting 9.90s. But Edney cost herself a chance at the all-around title by under rotating on her final floor pass, leading to a stumble and a 9.65. Edney finished second in the all-around with a 39.275.
It was a strong night for LSU sophomore Reagan Campbell. She posted a season-high 9.90 on beam to share first place with Carter and tied for third on floor with a 9.875.
“She’s getting stronger as the season progresses,” Breaux said of Campbell. “We’re very excited about what she’s bringing to the team.”
Breaux and associate head coach Jay Clark were upset about a score from one floor judge for McKenna Kelley, leading to a relatively low 9.75 despite a clean-looking routine. Both Breaux and Clark conferred with the judge, but LSU stopped short of filing a formal inquiry.
“She did a little stumble out of her last tumble pass,” Breaux said. “It’s the same judge who didn’t get it quite right on some of our vaults. It’s just one of those things where sometimes a judge doesn’t get with the rhythm of the meet.”
LSU returns home next Friday to host No. 7 Georgia in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Introductions are at 7:40 p.m. with first vault at 8. The Bulldogs pulled off a 197.450-197.375 upset Friday at Florida, denying the Gators a piece of the SEC regular-season title with one conference meet to go.
1. #5 LSU 197.125 (Vault — 49.300, Bars — 49.225, Beam — 49.375, Floor — 49.225)
2. #21 Arkansas 196.375 (Vault — 49.175, Bars — 48.625, Beam — 49.225, Floor — 49.350)
Individual (includes first place and all LSU competitors)
All-Around — 1. Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 39.375; 2. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 39.275; 3. Jessica Yamzon, Arkansas, 39.125; 4. Kennedy Hambrick, Arkansas, 39.050.
Vault — T1. Kennedi Edney, LSU, Kennedy Hambrick, Arkansas, 9.90; T3. Sarah Edwards, LSU, 9.875; T5. Sarah Finnegan, McKenna Kelley, LSU, 9.85; T7. Ruby Harrold, Julianna Cannamela, LSU, 9.825.
Bars — 1. Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 9.925; T2. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.875; T4. Sami Durante, Bailey Ferrer, LSU, 9.85; 9. Bridget Dean, LSU, 9.725; 10. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.675.
Beam — T1. Reagan Campbell, LSU, Sophia Carter, Arkansas, 9.90; T3. Christina Desiderio, Sami Durante, Bridget Dean, LSU, 9.875; T6. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.85; 12. Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 9.650.
Floor — T1. Sarah Finnegan, LSU, Sophia Carter, Arkansas, 9.95; T3. Reagan Campbell, LSU, 9.875; T5. Christina Desiderio, LSU, 9.85; 9. Ruby Harrold, LSU, 9.80; 10. McKenna Kelley, LSU, 9.75; 11. Kennedi Edney, LSU, 9.65.