No. 8 LSU gymnastics team upsets No. 3 Florida

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDLSU gymnast Jessie Jordan performs on the uneven bars in a meet against Florida on Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDLSU gymnast Jessie Jordan performs on the uneven bars in a meet against Florida on Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The No. 8 LSU gymnastics team proved last week’s record season-opening score wasn’t a fluke by beating No. 3 Florida 196.875-196.575 on Friday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

“We really beat an outstanding Florida team that’s vied for the national title the last few years,” said LSU coach D-D Breaux, who notched her 601st career victory. “We’re extremely proud, but we’ve worked hard.”

LSU was coming off a 196.075-194-.975 win over then No. 22 North Carolina State.

In order to beat Florida, LSU needed to rally from an almost three-tenths of a point deficit in the final rotation.

“You need to make up ground, but in gymnastics it’s hard to make up three tenths (of a point), especially when two teams are doing as well as these two teams were doing,” Breaux said. “We finished on floor, our strongest event, and our performers just performed.”

The Gators struggled in their final rotation, as they were forced to count a fall from freshman Bridget Sloan on the beam toward their team score.

The Tigers also saw a gymnast fall, but closed out their floor routine with their three best performers to make up six tenths of a point in the final rotation.

Lloimincia Hall capped an impressive team floor score with a 9.95 as the final gymnast to perform for the evening.

Though LSU’s team win depended on Hall hitting her routine, the Dallas native said she didn’t mind the weight of responsibility.

“Honestly, pressure boosts my momentum,” Hall said. “I enjoy the pressure.”

Hall finished second among the five all-around performers with a total score of 39.450. Florida’s Kytra Hunter claimed the all-around with a score of 39.675.

“Nothing is satisfactory. There’s always room for improvement,” Hall said. “I know we’re going to get back in there next week and still improve. We’re off to a great start, and I’m so excited to be a part of this team.”

Sophomore Rheagan Courville turned in another solid performance for the Tigers, coming in third among all-around performers with a 39.425. Courville scored 9.90 on both the vault and the floor.

It was the second straight strong performance for the former University High standout. Courville was named the Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week after scoring a career-high 39.500 last week.

“(The last two weeks have) been great, but I’ve been trying to get better every week,” Courville said. “These two weeks have been a great starting point for my season as well as the rest of my team’s season.”

Sarie Morrison, last week’s SEC Specialist of the Week, turned in another solid performance as well, scoring 9.90 on both the vault and the bars.

After the first rotation, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva presented Breaux with the key to the city in place of Mayor-President Kip Holden. Breaux was presented the key for reaching 600 career wins last week.

Despite that, Breaux was
focused on the win after the meet.

“It tested our nerve, it tested our ability to rise to the occasion,” Breaux said. “We kept our nerve … and that’s what a championship team does.”