After an equipment malfunction could have been disastrous for the Alabama gymnastics team, the Crimson Tide had a season-high score on floor exercise to pull off a 197.200-196.650 win against Kentucky on Friday night.
Led by senior Shea Mahoney and freshman Luisa Blanco, who both posted 9.950, Alabama scored 49.550 on the floor — its best showing on the event since the 2018 season.
Mahoney and Blanco also had season-best scores on beam, and vault.
However, an equipment issue on the uneven bars was discovered after junior Lexi Graber struggled with her balance and scored a 9.625. Not only did it cause the coaching staff pull her from Alabama's next event, balance beam, but after a long delay to fix the problem sophomore Jensie Givens subsequently had a hard fall.
With Graber's score back in play, No. 9 Alabama trailed at the meet's midway point, 98.400-98.300.
“I can’t say enough about how this team rebounded after bars," Crimson Tide coach Dana Duxworth said in a statement. "What a beautiful night for Luisa and Shea, but I also feel there was just so much team effort. It wasn’t about one person, it was about everyone never giving up.
“At the end of floor I pulled them together and made them tell me what was great about tonight and they said ‘Never gave up,’ ‘Total cohesiveness,’ and ‘Being one with one another.’ Those are the things that are going to make this team a championship team. I am very proud of the way they bounced back and finished with that type of evening.”
Freshman Ella Burgess got things started for the Crimson Tide with her 9.825 on vault. Mahoney held the highest vault score for Alabama during the meet with a 9.900. Graber closed out the first rotation with her 9.850, pushing Alabama to a running total of 49.300.
Junior Kylie Dickson was up first on bars for Alabama, contributing a 9.850. It tied Mahoney and freshman Makarri Doggette for the team's top score on the event.
Junior Alonza Klopfer opened up the third rotation for Alabama with a 9.850. Blanco nailed Alabama’s highest beam score for the meet with a 9.950, as combined with the No. 12 Wildcats having issues staying in bounds on floor the Crimson Tide regained the lead: 147.650-147.500.
Klopfer got things off to a hot start during the fourth rotation with her 9.850, followed by Blanco and Mahoney tying for the rotation high (9.950). Graber came back to close the meet with a 9.900.
Alabama closes its home slate next week when it competes against Georgia inside Coleman Coliseum on Saturday. The meet is set to begin at 7:15 p.m. (SEC Network).