It was never in doubt.
How could it be, on a night in which DD’s name officially went in to the rafters? DD would have been onhand anyway, but she was in attendance for the Tigers’ strongest performance of the season.
After the first two weeks of the season, what LSU most needed was a no-drama win in which the team simply showed how good it can be. That’s precisely what they got. It may have been disappointing for ESPN, but it was great for LSU fans.
LSU raced out to a 49.275-49.075 lead on the first rotation. The biggest thing wasn’t so much the lead, though two tenths is a solid margin, but just how steady LSU looked on the rotation. All six gymnasts scored at least a 9.800. While only Haleigh Bryant scored a 9.90, the rest of the team turned in clean performances on difficult vaults. There was no sign of a crack.
Well, there was one, actually. That was Kiya Johnson sitting on the bench, out of the all-around with a reported toe injury. But as if to alleviate our longterm concerns, Jay Clark inserted Kiya into the bars rotation. She looked all right to me, scoring a 9.875.
However, that was enough for Kiya. She shut it down for the rest of the night, resting that injury for the huge Florida meet this week, while at the same time keeping us from total panic by showing she was still well enough to compete. It’s hard to be to concerned over her injury after that bars routine.
Here’s the thing about the meet: Georgia performed at a top level, too. The Bulldogs scored at least 49.00 on all of its rotation. OK, they had to carry some 9.775’s on the night, but that’s not worlds off from that 9.80 line. They did everything they could to keep the pressure on.
It just didn’t matter. Like, at all. LSU simply extended its lead by two or three tenths every rotation, and by the night’s end, it was 197.200-196.375 final. LSU went into the final rotation up by five tenths. Sure, you can blow that in one rotation, but it would have taken a total meltdown.
This was not the night for meltdowns. Instead, LSU nearly doubled its lead, scoring 9.90+ three times. Worse for Georgia, none of those were by Haleigh Bryant.
So on a night that LSU’s top two were basically out injured and putting it in cruise control, the Tigers still absolutely dominated the gym. Because of that, LSU now climbs to #2 in the rankings, setting up the meet of the season so far: #1 Florida versus #2 LSU.
Play time is over. It’s time for the big tent.