In no rivalry has Suzanne Yoculan embraced her role as the Steve Spurrier of women's gymnastics more fully than in her personal blood feud against the program to the west and she played that mental advantage to the hilt yet again in Friday night's showdown in Tuscaloosa.
Although the Red and Black opened the first rotation badly when Nikki Childs sustained a fall on the parallel bars, the visitors rallied, posting a 9.85 (Tiffany Tolnay), a 9.9 (Grace Taylor), and a pair of 9.95s (Katie Heenan and Courtney Kupets) to chalk up a 49.425 team tally that gave the Gym Dogs an early lead on the Crimson Tide, who received a cumulative 48.9 mark in the vault.
Alabama ate into the Georgia lead in the second stanza, earning a quartet of 9.8s en route to an overall 49.15 on the bars that eclipsed the 48.9 mark registered by the Red and Black in the vault. Kupets's 9.95 was the only Bulldog score of the rotation to exceed a 9.775.
The visitors widened their imperiled advantage in the third rotation, in which Cassidy McComb's 9.9 and S.E.C. Gymnast of the Week Courtney McCool's 9.95 helped the Gym Dogs to overcome Kupets's fall in the floor exercise. By putting up a collective 49.325, Georgia outpaced Alabama's 48.6 effort on the balance beam.
The Red Elephants saved their best for last, notching a combined 49.35 on the floor which was capped off by Morgan Dennis's 9.95 to conclude the final rotation. Although no Georgia gymnast exceeded a 9.85 on the beam, neither did any of Coach Yoculan's charges fail to earn at least a 9.75, so the Bulldogs' consistency garnered the 48.975 that clinched the win for the Red and Black.
The Gym Dogs justified their No. 1 ranking with the win and they will be back in action in Athens against N.C. State next Friday night.