DENTON, Texas— The sixth-ranked LSU gymnastics team scored its second-best mark of the season in a four-way meet against Pittsburgh, Texas Woman’s College and Centenary Friday at Kitty Magee Arena.
LSU’s score of 197.625 was second only this season after its score against Alabama (198.050) on Feb. 18.
The Tigers have beaten Pittsburgh (195.600), Texas Woman’s (195.450) and Centenary (188.075) as they prepare for the playoffs. LSU has two more regular season contests before heading to Birmingham, Alabama for the SEC championships.
“I think we did what we had to do today to get a good score on the road,” coach Jay Clark said. “There are things we still have to sort out and injuries to overcome. I enjoyed the fight and the response, especially from our freshmen. KJ (Johnson) and Aleah (Finnegan) showed real composure tonight and delivered when we needed them.
LSU gymnasts swept the all-around and all events, led by Kiya Johnson’s 39.450.
The Tigers’ vault lineup scored a 49.500 to tie its season high on the event. KJ Johnson scored a 9.95 on his Yurchenko Full, which was perfect for the starting value of 9.95. Haleigh Bryant tied it with a 9.95 at anchor. Elena Arenas and Kiya Johnson each scored 9.875 and Sarah Edwards added 9.85.
On floor, LSU scored a 49.475 for its best road score in the event this season. Kiya Johnson took the win with a 9.95 at the anchor. Aleah Finnegan tied her career high in the event with a 9.90 and Olivia Dunne, KJ Johnson and Edwards each scored a 9.875.
Without Bridget Dean in the lineup, the Tigers scored 49.225 on balance beam. Finnegan set a career high and earned his first collegiate win with a 9.925. Christina Desiderio opened with a 9.80 and Arenas also scored a 9.80. Bryant scored a 9.875 and Kiya Johnson scored a 9.825 in sixth place.
LSU started the meet with a 49.425 on bars. Kiya Johnson started with a 9.80 and Arenas followed with a 9.875 to set a career high. Alyona Shchennikova scored a 9.90 on her return to the bars lineup after missing the last two encounters. Bryant and Sami Durante each scored a 9.925 for the victory on bars.
The Tigers return home for their final SEC meeting of the season against Kentucky at 7:15 p.m. Friday at the Pete Maravich Assemby Center.