Feb. 27, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The fifth-ranked Auburn gymnastics team suffered a 197.350-196.175 setback to No.11 Alabama in front of a sellout crowd of 15,075 in Coleman Coliseum for the fifth annual Power of Pink meet. Auburn slips to 5-4, 3-3 SEC, while Alabama improves to 4-4, 2-4 SEC.
"Nobody in the country would have beat Alabama here tonight," head gymnastics coach Jeff Thompson said. "We had a good night considering the crowd and a mishap in warm-ups that maybe took our focus off. I felt like we recovered well. The coaches had some choices to make this meet about all of our lineups and we made some good choices and some bad choices.
"It was another meet where we didn't have to count a fall, but we certainly could have scored better," Thompson said. "Our biggest mistake was in trying to win the meet instead of focusing on each of our individual jobs."
Mills' 9.85 was the high score in as the Tigers posted a 48.850 in the first rotation on bars. Puckett was the only other gymnast to crack the 9.8 mark with a 9.825 in the No. 5 spot. Carmen Nelms made her return to the bars lineup for the first time since the Georgia meet.
Alabama opened the night with a season-high score of 49.425 on vault with three scores of 9.9 or better for the early lead.
Allyson Sandusky and Kylie Shields provided two strong vault scores of 9.85 and 9.825, respectively, in the second rotation. Shields mark of 9.825 topped her previous career high. Junior Krissy Voss followed with a 9.8 of her own. Vaulting fifth, Mills provided a 9.825 and Puckett's vault gave the Tigers a 9.85. Auburn finished with a 49.150 in the rotation
Moving to bars, the Tide had a pair of gymnasts post 9.9s or better en route to scoring a season high of 49.325. Alabama held a 98.750-98.000 advantage heading into the third rotation.
Armed as the nation's fourth-ranked floor squad, the Tigers took to their marquee event and combined for a 49.125. Senior Claire Seiffert registered a solid 9.8 for Auburn as the second tumbler and was followed up by Voss, who matched her career high with a 9.85. Senior counterparts Mills and Puckett closed out floor with a 9.825 and 9.9, respectively.
Alabama recorded a 49.275 in the third rotation on beam to lead 148.025- 147.125 heading into the final rotation.
After a two-week absence from competition due to illness, Lauren Brzostowski returned to the lineup as the lead off beam worker to score a career best of 9.85. Rookie Kylie Shields notched a 9.85 in the No. 4 spot for her second career high score of the night. Mills was awarded a 9.9 to tie for first on the event. Auburn combined for a 49.050 on beam in the final rotation.
The Tide closed out the night with a 49.325 on floor.
"With what happened in warm-ups, we could have totally fallen all over the place and no one would have been surprised by the drama, but once again, we are proving that we are very consistent," Thompson said. "Slow and steady wins the race and I think that consistency is going to pay off when it's most important."
Auburn will travel to East Lansing, Mich., next week to face No. 23 Michigan State in Jenison Fieldhouse at 6 p.m. CT.