As D-D Breaux describes it, momentum is medicine.
It’s either the perfect remedy as things go awry or the feel-good emotion that leads to triumph.
So when Breaux’s LSU gymnasts turned in season-high totals on both vault and uneven bars to open their matchup against No. 7 Alabama on Friday night, she had no qualms as her Tigers headed to the beam.
“Once you feel that in your veins, you can ride on it,” Breaux said. “I think they did.”
The Tigers survived a shaky beam set to flourish on the floor exercise, setting another season high total highlighted by Lloimincia Hall’s perfect 10 and pulled away from the Crimson Tide for a 197.650-196.825 victory.
It was the first victory over Alabama (3-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) since 2010 for the Tigers (3-1, 2-1) and Hall’s third career perfect 10 — and her second against the Tide.
“It’s so awesome,” Hall said. “We know and we respect the talent that Alabama has to offer. If you go in there respecting who you’re against, it’s much easier to do what you do.”
In front of an announced crowd of 8,055, the Tigers led things off with a bang, tallying a 49.575 on vault. Both Sarie Morrison and Rheagan Courville produced season high scores, and the team total was the third-highest vault score in LSU history.
Courville’s 9.975 edged Morrison’s 9.950 for the individual event title — Courville’s first vault title of the season.
Again it was Courville and Morrison providing the spark on bars, where LSU set another season high with a 49.400. Morrison tied her career high with a 9.950 to anchor the set and win the event title.
For an injury-riddled former all-arounder whose foot and ankle problems have limited her to specializing in vault and uneven bars, Morrison said the big scores are a manifestation of her attitude in the practice gym.
“To know I’m capable of posting a 9.9 or higher on both events is something I prepare myself for during the week,” Morrison said. “To be able to deliver those big numbers for the team tonight was exciting.”
LSU went to beam holding a firm 98.975-98.425 lead on the Tide and looked to put the visitors away with a solid set similar to what it showed on the first two rotations.
But a fall in the middle of the lineup from freshman Ashleigh Knat followed by a wobbly routine riddled with two near-falls from Courville quelled any thoughts of a premature celebration.
“I think (Courville) let the fall in front of her get in her head,” Breaux said. “It’s a learning thing. That’s something we have to guard against and know it could happen again. She’s done that now, and she’s ready for that to happen.”
Jessie Jordan followed Courville with a 9.900 to anchor the event and keep the Tigers’ lead at 148.100-147.550
As the Tigers made the trek to floor — where they rank third in the country — it was again Jordan who delivered a spark, tying her season high on the event with a 9.875 in the second slot of the lineup.
Jessica Savona followed suit, tying her season high with a 9.900 before Courville chipped in a 9.925 and Hall brought the crowd to its feet with her 10.
At the midway point of the season for both squads, Breaux scoffed at any notion that the Tigers are peaking too soon, while Alabama coach Sarah Patterson termed the Tigers as a team in “championship mode” after the meet.
But for a group of gymnasts starved for a victory against the Tide, it was a savored result.
Exasperated among a throng of little girls seeking her autograph and a quick picture, Hall was quick to put the victory in perspective.
“An Alabama win, I can’t compare this to anything I’ve ever won,” she said. “It’s icing on the cake.”