Kentucky Improves in Defeat by Alabama

Jan. 16, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Kentucky gymnastics team (1-1, 0-1 SEC) were topped by the No. 6 Alabama (2-0, 2-0 SEC) Friday night in Coleman Coliseum. Bama outscored the Cats, 195.825-194.075, in front of a packed house.  

Sophomore Andrea Mitchell started the meet for Kentucky on the uneven bars with a season-high 9.725. Freshmen Whitney Rose and Storey Morris each rebounded from their first meet vs. Utah State for solid scores of 9.750 and 9.650, respectively. For the second consecutive meet senior Natalie Rubinstein took team top-honors with a 9.850, taking the Cats’ score to an improved 48.725, just above Alabama’s 48.575. Rubinstein placed second behind the Crimson Tide’s Ashley Priess who scored a career-high 9.925.

“Once again Natalie really came through for us and nailed a bar routine,” head coach Mo Mitchell said. “She’s been such a leader on the team, leading by example. We are so proud of what she’s doing, she’s always so full of energy and so positive.”

Kentucky carried the momentum into the second rotation for a 48.900 on the vault, taking UK within half a point of the Crimson Tide. Colleen Williams, a sophomore, helped get the Wildcats started with a career-high score of 9.800, followed by Rose’s 9.800 and a season-high 9.850 from sophomore Jasmine Minion. Minion finished second following Bama’s All-American Morgan Dennis’ 9.900.

Mitchell performed the opening floor routine for Kentucky helping the Cats increase their season high on the event by more than .500 for a 48.550. Junior Hillary Ferguson closed the rotation for the Blue and White with a team best score of 9.825.

The Frisco, Texas, native Rose, made her balance beam debut with a solid 9.775. Unfortunately, Kentucky was hit by uncharacteristic falls but senior Heather Hite helped pick the team back up with a 9.875. Hite tied with Alabama’s Geralen Stack-Eaton and Priess for the event title. Morris significantly increased her score from her collegiate debut just last week with a 9.800.

Ferguson and Mitchell were again the all-around performers for Kentucky, each tallying marks of 38.475 and 38.350, respectively. Richmond, Ky., native Ferguson placed third in the all-around behind Dennis and Lebegern with 38.875 and 39.275, respectively.

“Our freshmen stepped up and did a fantastic job,” Mitchell said. “We still have some work to do on beam and floor but I think we started the meet great. We’re heading in the right direction and that’s the important part. The next meet we will put it all together and be ready for LSU.”

Kentucky will continue SEC competition for the next five weeks, returning home to host the LSU Tigers in Memorial Coliseum on Fri., Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. ET.