LSU gymnastics team edges Georgia

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- LSU's Rheagan Courville competes in the beam against Georgia in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Friday, March 1, 2013.  Courville took her tenth All-Around win with a score of 39.45.  LSU won the meet with a final team score of 197.05.  MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC. OUT/GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT OUT/225 OUT/10/12 OUT/IN REGISTER OUT/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ Heather McClelland
Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- LSU's Rheagan Courville competes in the beam against Georgia in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Friday, March 1, 2013. Courville took her tenth All-Around win with a score of 39.45. LSU won the meet with a final team score of 197.05. MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC. OUT/GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT OUT/225 OUT/10/12 OUT/IN REGISTER OUT/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ Heather McClelland

The fifth-ranked LSU gymnastics team posted its third 197.0 or better and first in front of a home crowd this season in a 197.050-196.825 victory over No. 7 Georgia on Friday night at the Pete Maravich Center.

LSU sophomore Rheagan Courville earned her 10th all-around title with a 39.450, narrowly edging LSU junior Kaleigh Dickson, who scored a 39.375.

Despite Courville taking home the all-around title, LSU coach D-D Breaux said she still expects better from the Baton Rouge native.

“I think Rheagan is capable of so much more than what we saw tonight,” Breaux said. “There were little kinks in places. My expectation for Rheagan is way beyond what she’s winning with right now. And to win a national title and to take this team to the next level we need her to be great. Right now, she’s good.”

Georgia freshman Brittany Rogers was third-best in the all-around, scoring a 39.225.

LSU — ranked second nationally in the vault — started the meet with a 49.50 in the event, paced by three-straight 9.90 scores to open the meet from junior Kaleigh Dickson, senior Britney Taylor and Jordan, respectively. Courville, fifth-best in the nation on vault, anchored the rotation with a meet-high 9.925, just 0.025 shy of her season best in the event.

The Gym Dogs opened with a 49.250 on the uneven bars, aided by a 9.90 from sophomore Chelsea Davis, the nation’s top-ranked gymnast on bars. Davis entered the contest having won bars in all nine of her meets this season but was bested Friday by a pair of Tigers — junior Sarie Morrison and freshman Randii Wyrick — who both posted a 9.925.

“(Morrison and Wyrick), they hit their handstands and executed on bar really well,” Breaux said.

Courville and Dickson added 9.850s on bars to give LSU a slim, 0.050 overall advantage in the event while the Gym Dogs posted a 49.200 on vault. After two rotations, LSU maintained a 98.800-98.450 lead over visiting Georgia.

The Gym Dogs closed the margin in the third rotation as the Tigers suffered a handful of bobbles on the balance beam, including a fall from sophomore Britney Ranzy. Courville posted a 9.850 on the beam and Jordan anchored the Tigers with a 9.875 to pace LSU to a 48.875 overall score on beam.

Meanwhile, Georgia scored a 49.150 on the floor routine to bring the overall running score to 147.675-147.600 in favor of LSU heading into the final rotation.

“We came to beam with a three-tenth lead and we whacked away at and made it a closer meet than it should have been at the end,” Breaux said. “The kids know they’ve struggled a bit (at beam). We’ll just go back to the gym and practice.”

Jordan started LSU with a 9.800 on the floor, and the getting would only get better for the Tigers. Courville posted a 9.825, junior Maliah Mathis scored a 9.875 before sophomore Lloiminica Hall — the nation’s top performer on the floor — closed the night with a meet-best 9.950.

“Floor is one of our strongest events,” said Dickson, who scored a 9.850 on the floor. “We know that if we just hit and show it off everything’s going to be fine. That’s exactly what we did.”

Senior Christia Tanella paced Georgia with a 9.875 on the balance beam as the Gym Dogs posted a 49.225 in the event while LSU posted an overall 49.375 on the floor to ice the meet victory for the Tigers.

A crowd of 5,717 were on hand for the meet, the third-largest gymnastics attendance in Maravich Center history.

“To have such a big crowd tonight was amazing,” Morrison said. “It kept the motivation and our energy high. To have all these people be able to celebrate the win with us, it was great.”