Feb. 6, 2009
No. 5 Auburn (3-2, 1-1 SEC) will travel to No. 3 Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) on Saturday for a sold out 3 p.m. CT showdown in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga. Live stats will be available on georgiadogs.com. CSS will tape-delay the meet on Feb. 10 at 8 p.m.
"If we can go in there and get off to a good start, be consistent, put up good scores and have it be close, then we have a chance," head gymnastics coach Jeff Thompson said. "We have a great beam team, if we go to beam and it is close or we're ahead, I'm confident that we're going to get up there and hit our routines and seal the deal. The meet sold out, so it's going to be exciting."
Auburn is coming off of its best performance of the season, a 196.575-195.300 win over No. 10 LSU. The 196.575 is the Tigers highest final score achieved this season and the Auburn also posted season-high marks on vault (49.200), bars (49.150) and floor (49.300). Seven gymnasts matched or set career highs. It was also Auburn's first win over LSU on its home mat since 2003.
Last week, Georgia posted its lowest score of the season in a 195.000-193.150 win on the road at NC State. The Gym Dogs had to count a fall on floor for a season-low 47.575 and also posted a season-low 48.200 on beam in its final rotation.
In GymInfo's latest national rankings release on Feb. 2, Auburn moved from sixth to fifth after beating LSU. The Tigers are averaging a 196.225. Auburn maintained a No. 3 ranking on floor (49.175) and a No. 8 ranking on bars (48.995), but moved up two spots on beam to fourth (49.020). Vault ranks 12th, averaging a 49.035. A.J. Mills and Lindsey Puckett both appear in the all-around top 10, coming in at fourth and ninth, respectively. Mills is also ranked ninth on beam, while Puckett is fifth on vault and 10th on floor. Rachel Inniss is listed seventh on floor.
Georgia is tied for third (196.320) with Arkansas in the overall poll. On each event, the Gym Dogs rank second on bars, fifth on vault, are tied for seventh on beam and is eighth on floor. Individually, Georgia boasts the nation's top gymnast, Courtney Kupets, on bars and in all-around action. She also ranks third on beam. Including Kupets, three Gym Dogs rank in the top 10 on bars.
In 61 all-time meetings, Georgia has won every meet. Last year Auburn and Georgia met three times: in Auburn, at the SEC Championship and at the NCAA Central Regional. The closest meeting between Auburn and Georgia came on Feb. 24, 2006, in Auburn. Georgia owned the No. 1 ranking and just escaped Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum with a 196.550-196.150 win over No. 13 Auburn.