Missouri gymnastics falls to Alabama

The Tigers’ 49.200 on beam tied their season-high on the event.
Alabama senior Abby Armbrecht sticks a landing during with Alabama vs. Missouri meet on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

No. 16 Missouri gymnastics (4-4, 1-2 SEC) fell to No. 8 Alabama Friday night at the Hearnes Center, despite scoring a season-high 196.550.

“I thought we did a good job of staying focused on ourselves and on our team,” coach Shannon Welker said. “The unique thing about gymnastics is there’s no defense, so if you can stay focused on your team, you can do a good job and I think we did that tonight. We had some different people step up in different situations, so I was really proud of them.”

The Tigers started out the meet with a 49.125 on vault. Senior Britney Ward and junior Aspen Tucker both scored 9.875, tying for the floor title. Redshirt junior Morgan Porter and senior Madeleine Huber added scores of 9.825 and 9.8, respectively. Sophomore Gabrielle Gottula contributed a 9.75.

“On vault, we did a little bit better job last weekend,” Welker said. “So we are going to go in and really work on our landings there.”

On bars, Missouri scored a 49.100. Redshirt senior Becca Schugel had a 9.825, while sophomore Chelsey Christensen and senior Brooke Kelly scored 9.8 and 9.775, respectively. At the end of the lineup, Huber and Porter finished strong with 9.85s. While landing, Porter’s knee started to give out and she had to escorted off the floor.

With Porter’s knee still being checked on, Missouri placed Tucker on the beam in her place. Senior Allison Bower, junior Mary Nicholson and Gottula led the Tigers with 9.85s. Ward and Kelly notched a 9.8 and a 9.775, respectively. The Tigers finished with 49.125 on beam.

Porter came back out to compete on floor after missing the third rotation.

“I knew I had to do it for the team, so I went back out there,” Porter said. “You just want to do well for your team, so at that moment, nothing else matters. You just go out there and do the best for your team.”

Porter’s floor routine earned a 9.875, despite her injury earlier in the meet.

“You cannot doubt Morgan Porter’s toughness,” Welker said. “She kind of strained a little bit of a patellar tendon and it was nothing serious, thankfully. We told her she could sit out the rest of the meet after that and we were gonna put some other people in. She obviously did an awesome job for us, and that just shows a lot of her toughness and the character of our team as well.”

Bower and Nicholson also earned 9.875s on floor. Tucker led Missouri’s floor effort with an 9.9, while Huber finished the night with a 9.675 on floor. Missouri finished with a 49.200 on floor.

“I know it wasn’t our highest scoring routine, but Madeleine [Huber] did a real nice job on floor in that last routine,” Welker said. “She struggled last weekend when we were in Dallas, and she knew it. I threw her back into the fire this weekend and she did a nice job. I thought she really stepped up in that regard.”

Despite a strong final rotation for Missouri, the Crimson Tide’s 196.850 edged out the Tigers’ 196.550 by just .300.

“We gotta make sure were sticking landings and I think that was probably the difference maker between us and Bama tonight,” Welker said. “But overall I’m pretty pleased with the performance tonight. I thought we kept it close. We were right there in the end and just needed a little more.”

The Tigers will be back at the Hearnes Center on Friday for an SEC matchup at 7 p.m. against No. 6 Georgia.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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