LSU gymnastics team returns home to face No. 7 Georgia

With eight meets behind them and three weeks left in the regular season, the fifth-ranked LSU gymnastics team already knows a lot about itself with the championship portion of the schedule just ahead.

But the Tigers will get to find out more in back-to-back home meets, a stretch that starts with a Southeastern Conference matchup against No. 7 Georgia at 7 p.m. Friday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

After closing out its SEC schedule against Georgia, LSU will take on Alabama in a nonconference dual for the annual Etta James Memorial Meet on March 8 — back-to-back competitions that should serve the Tigers well in the coming weeks.

A Jan. 26 win against Georgia (6-5-1, 4-1-1 SEC) in the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth didn’t count in the league standings, but Friday night’s matchup will for LSU (8-3, 4-2).

“Whether it counts or not, it’s about a win and a loss,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said, “and the score.”

Breaux will be looking for a complete performance against Georgia after a 197.125-196.975 loss at Auburn last week. While it was the highest mark ever at Auburn in LSU history, it left Breaux wanting more.

“We had a great meet there, but we had some breaks on the beam that were extremely costly,” Breaux said Thursday. “We had the lead going into the last event (the beam) and let it slip away.”

While there were no falls, getting that cleaned up was the focus this week with Georgia coming up.

LSU, which leads the nation in floor exercise, is ranked second in vault and eight on bars. But they’re only 15th on beam after dropping seven spots in the past two meets.

“I think it’s a concern, but I’m hoping we addressed it this week,” Breaux said.

“We changed our training and we’re doing some things differently, but I hope it’s been addressed.

“Based on what we did in practice (Thursday), it has been addressed. If practice means anything, we’ll do great on beam.”

After coming close in wins over Florida earlier this season and two weeks ago against Arkansas, the Tigers will be trying to score 197 for the first time at home.

They’ve done it twice in road wins at the Metroplex Challenge, when they outscored Georgia 197.100-196.775, and against Missouri.

“We feel like the team is very good, but we don’t feel like we’ve had a great performance yet,” Breaux said. “We’ve had little issues in every competition and we’re still doing very well.

“We’ve seen greatness in practice, but not in the team performance in competition. If we can hit our stride and see the greatness we know is there, it will be a team other people need to worry about.”

Friday night would be a good time to show it as Georgia comes in after posting a 196.825-195.440 win at Missouri last week.

LSU’s Lloimincia Hall is ranked No. 1 in the nation on floor with a 9.925, while Rheagan Courville is No. 3 in the all-around at 39.475.

Courville is No. 5 on vault (9.910), sixth on floor (9.895) and 11th on beam at 9.865, while Sarie Morrison is sixth on bars (9.890).

Georgia enters the meet as the nation’s No. 2 team on bars and is fourth on vault and 10th on beam and floor.

Sophomore Chelsea Davis is ranked No. 1 on bars (9.935), while Brittany Rogers is third (9.90). Brandie Jay is fourth on vault (9.910).