Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
UA gymnasts look to end LSU skid
Arkansas coach Jordyn Wieber directs her gymnasts Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, during the Razorbacks' meet with Georgia in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks will try to snap a long losing streak to LSU and recover from a major setback last week when they take on the Tigers at 7 tonight at the Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.
The No. 14 Razorbacks did not lose a spot in the rankings this week, which transitioned to national qualifying scores as the postseason nears. However, they did lose some of their momentum after two gymnasts fell on the uneven bars early in a home loss to No. 20 Auburn last week and finished with a disappointing 196.025 score.
WHEN 6:30 p.m. Central today
WHERE Maravich Center, Baton Rouge
RECORDS Arkansas 2-6, 2-4 SEC; LSU 7-2, 4-2
RANKINGS LSU is No. 5 (197.165); Arkansas is No. 14 (196.43)
SERIES LSU leads 36-5-1.
COACHES Jordyn Wieber (2-6 in first season at Arkansas); D-D Breaux (43rd seasons at LSU)
EVENTS Vault: No. 2 LSU 49.375, No. 27 Arkansas 48.893; Uneven bars: No. 4 LSU 49.365, No. 18 Arkansas 49.115; Balance beam: No. 6 LSU 49.36, No. 19 Arkansas 49.06; Floor exercise: No. 8 (tie) Arkansas 49.33, No. 10 LSU 49.32
TOP ATHLETES (top 100)
All-around No. 2 Kiya Johnson (LSU) 39.63, No. 11 Kennedy Hambrick (UA) 39.385, No. 38 Jessica Yamzon (UA) 39.055, No. 41 Kiara Gianfagna (UA) 39.01
Vault No. 3 Johnson (LSU) 9.925, No. 7 Kennedi Edney (LSU) 9.905, No. 15 Ruby Harrold (LSU) 9.88, No. 47 (tie) Sarah Shaffer (UA) and Kai Rivers (LSU) 9.835, No. 65 Hambrick (UA) 9.82
Uneven bars No. 15 (tie) Harrold (LSU) and Sami Durante (LSU) 9.89, No. 33 Hambrick (UA) 9.86, No. 40 (tie) Bailey Lovett (UA) and Johnson (LSU) 9.855, No. 58 Rivers (LSU) 9.84, No. 93 Bridget Dean (LSU) 9.82
Balance beam No. 16 (tie) Johnson (LSU), Edney (LSU) and Reagan Campbell (LSU) 9.895, No. 41 Durante (LSU) 9.855, No. 47 Sophia Carter (UA) 9.85, No. 60 Dean (LSU) 9.835, No. 75 (tie) Lovett (UA) and Christina Desiderio (LSU) 9.825
Floor exercise No. 1 (tie) Johnson (LSU) 9.96, No. 16 (tie) Carter (UA) and Lovett (UA) 9.9, No. 23 Hambrick (UA) 9.895, No. 59 Campbell (LSU) 9.86, No. 75 Harrold (LSU) 9.845, No. 87 Edney (LSU) 9.84
LSU won the first 17 meetings and the past 18 meetings against Arkansas. In between, the Razorbacks went 5-1-1 from April 7, 2009, through Jan. 20, 2012. ... LSU is 56-4 at home in the past nine years. ... The teams competed to a rare 196.2-to-196.2 tie on Feb. 19, 2010, at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville. ... Arkansas was forced to count a fall last week when Jessica Yamzon (8.825) and Kiara Gianfagna (8.45) came off the uneven bars in the top two spots in the order.
Arkansas (2-6, 2-4 SEC) has lost 18 meetings in a row to the No. 5 Tigers (7-2, 4-2), who have scored 197 or better four times this season, including in their past three meets.
Arkansas is led by sophomore Kennedy Hambrick, who moved up to No. 11 in the national all-around rankings this week with a national qualifying score of 39.385.
The Razorbacks' top apparatus continues to be the floor exercise, where they are No. 8 this week (49.33). Four Razorbacks scored 9.85 or better on the floor exercise last week: Hambrick and Sophia Carter with event-winning 9.925s, and Jessica Yamzon and Sarah Shaffer with 9.85s.
LSU is one-hundredth of a point behind Arkansas on the floor but have a healthy edge on the other three events.
LSU ranks in the top 10 on all four events, led by a No. 2 spot on the vault. The Tigers are led by freshman Kiya Johnson, who is No. 2 in the all-around (39.63).
First-year Arkansas Coach Jordyn Wieber's Razorbacks have lost consecutive meets at Alabama and to Auburn after winning at Missouri and edging No. 10 Georgia at home.
LSU will mark the sixth top-10 opponent the Razorbacks have seen this season, and they are 1-4 in the previous meets against top-10 teams.
The Razorbacks have not won a meet against LSU in more than eight years, since a 197.225 to 196.325 decision Jan. 20, 2012 at Barnhill Arena. That win came at the end of a four-year stretch in which Arkansas went 5-1-1 vs. Coach D-D Breaux's Tigers.
Most of the meets since then have been walkovers, as the Razorbacks have come within a full point only four times in the last 18 meetings, the last a 197.125 to 196.35 loss at Barnhill Arena last Feb. 22.
Sports on 02/28/2020
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