Gymnastics Takes Second at Lady Luck as Rally Falls Short

Jan. 16, 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The 14th-ranked University of Kentucky gymnastics team made a late surge but finished second to No. 15 Missouri at the Lady Luck Invitational quad-meet Friday at the South Point Casino Hotel.

Kentucky fell short to Missouri 195.625-195.525, but finished ahead of LSU (195.350) and Arizona State (192.675). The win over No. 16 LSU marks UK's first over its Southeastern Conference foe in 15 years, spanning 31 meets. Kentucky's previous finish ahead of the Tigers came at the 1996 SEC Championships.

The Wildcats move to 3-1 overall, 1-0 in the SEC for their best overall start since the 2006 squad began the year at 7-0. Missouri improves to 4-0. LSU slips to 2-2 overall, 0-1 in the SEC. Arizona State drops to 0-3.

UK found itself in third place after two rotations, but surged with standout performances in both the floor exercise and vault events. Trailing LSU (98.650) and Missouri (97.325) after two rotations, Kentucky (97.175) began its move, posting the meet's top team score on the floor exercise at 49.050.

Seniors Hillary Ferguson (Richmond, Ky.) and Emily Green (Penfield, N.Y.) along with junior Jasmine Minion (Memphis, Tenn.) each finished in a three-way tie for second place with a 9.825 on the floor exercise. Teammate junior Phylicia Reshard (West Chester, Ohio) took third with a career-high effort of 9.800. LSU's Susan Jackson earned title honors with a 9.850.

Having pulled to within six tenths of LSU (146.825) and two tenths of Missouri (146.425) heading into the final event, Kentucky (146.225) carried its momentum over to the vault, nearly setting a school record. UK's 49.300 vault score tied for the second-highest in school history, just 0.025 off the school mark. LSU finished first with a 49.375.

Sophomore Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas) keyed UK's showing, stepping up to finish second with a career-high 9.925 behind LSU's Jackson (9.950). UK's Reshard (9.825) and Minion (9.775) also helped build on the clutch team performance with career-high scores.

"We knew going into the last two events that vault and floor were our money events," UK head coach Mo Mitchell said. "We feel like, if we can just hang with everybody on bars and beam, we can beat a lot of teams on the other two events and it showed tonight.

"We did a fantastic job on the floor and were just amazing on the vault. We were just behind LSU and Missouri and we fought really hard to try to make up that distance. We made it up against LSU but we couldn't quite get it against Missouri. It's a really tough pill to swallow."

UK senior Jamie Reimann (Johnston, Iowa) tied for third with Arizona State's Mary Atkinson on the uneven bars with a 9.875 score. LSU's Summer Hubbard won the event with a 9.950. The Wildcats finished third as a team on the bars with a 48.250 score. LSU was first at 49.275.

Wildcat sophomore Storey Morris (Tyler, Texas) and junior Andrea Mitchell (Knoxville, Tenn.) led Kentucky on the beam. Morris charted a career-high 9.825 to finish second behind Missouri's Sarah Shire and LSU's Jackson, who both posted a 9.900 score. Mitchell registered a 9.775 on the beam to tie for third place with Brooke Boehmer of Missouri and Sabrina Franceschelli of LSU. Kentucky (48.250) was second on the beam to Missouri (48.900).

Kentucky plays host to eighth-ranked Florida at Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 22. The dual meet starts at 7 p.m. EST.

For complete coverage of Kentucky gymnastics, please visit ukathletics.com or follow "UKGymnastics" on Facebook and Twitter.