LSU extended its streak of meets scoring a 197 or above to lucky number 13 on Friday. The team also extended its home winning streak to 24 meets, and it solidified its hold on the #2 ranking. Not a bad weekend.
#11 Missouri came to the PMAC with their eyes on the upset, only to be the latest team to get thoroughly thrashed by the hometown Tigers. LSU cruised, again, to a 197.425 – 195.425 victory.
Because the meet was at home, LSU could take advantage of the rotation schedule to open up a huge early lead. The plan worked even better than usual. LSU scored a 49.400 on the vault, putting on the pressure. That’s the kind of opening LSU wants on vault to set the tone.
But even more critically this weekend, Missouri crumbled on its first rotation of the uneven bars. Two falls forced Missouri to carry a 9.050 score, dropping a sub-9.00 score. The highest score Missouri managed on the rotation was a 9.825, and by the time the dust settled on the opening rotation, LSU held a 49.400-48.350 lead.
It’s possible to come back on LSU, but it’s near impossible to do it when the Tigers are at home. It almost is literally impossible when you are down by a full point after just one rotation. DD Breaux pressed the cruise control button and LSU eased in to a big win.
Ashleigh Gnat skipped the bars rotation again, allowing Ruby Harrold to step in and win the first event title of her career. A 9.875 usually won’t win the night, but it did on Friday, evidence that LSU was taking no chances with its huge lead.
Skipping the bars is helping Gnat put up huge scores elsewhere. She scored a 9.950 on both the vault and the floor exercise, anchoring both rotations with the high score of the night.
The biggest drama of the night turned out to be the individual all-around. Kennedi Edney won her second all-around title in as many weeks, coming back from two tenths down on the floor exercise. Myia Hambrick had the all-around in her grasp, but a poor 9.225 score on the final event doomed her chances.
The team wasn’t exactly clicking on all cylinders, but they didn’t need to be. And LSU is now at a point at which they are so good and accomplished that a 197.425 somehow seems like a disappointment. That’s a monster score, particularly for a midseason conference meet.
We’re a little over a month away from the SEC championships and the postseason by which this team will be judged. They are running well right now, but that’s when Breaux is going to need to put this team into an even higher gear. As it seems now, this team has the ability to improve its score and intensity for the postseason.