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.
Arkansas, Missouri looking to rebound
Arkansas' Sophia Carter competes in the beam Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, during the Razorbacks' meet with No. 2 Oklahoma in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas gymnastics team had a heartbreak loss by a tenth of a point last week to Kentucky.
Missouri put a little more pain into its performance that night. The Tigers (1-4) fell by five-hundredths of a point -- 196.7 to 196.65 -- at No. 14 Auburn last week to drop to 0-3 in SEC action.
Arkansas at Missouri
WHEN 6 p.m.
WHERE Hearns Center, Columbia, Mo.
RECORDS Arkansas 0-4, 0-2 SEC; Missouri 1-4, 0-3
RANKINGS Arkansas is No. 14 (196.106); Missouri is No. 20 (195.838)
SERIES Arkansas leads 14-10.
TV SEC Network
COACHES Jordyn Wieber (0-4 in first season at Arkansas); Shannon Welker (46-52-1 in seventh season at Missouri)
EVENTS Vault: No. 20 Missouri 48.925, No. 23 Arkansas 48.888; Uneven bars: No. 16 Arkansas 49.075, No. 25 Missouri 48.831; Balance beam: No. 8 Missouri 49.088, No. 22 Arkansas 48.844; Floor exercise: No. 4 Arkansas 49.3, No. 19 Missouri 48.994
TOP ATHLETES (top 100)
ALL-AROUND No. 25 Kennedy Hambrick (UA) 39.25, No. 29 Sienna Schreiber (MU) 39.188, No. 37 Kiara Gianfagna (UA) 39.125, No. 39 Jessica Yamzon (UA) 39.113, No. 41 Morgan Porter (MU) 39.106, No. 45 Helen Hu (MU) 39.025
VAULT No. 36 Sarah Shaffer (UA) 9.844, No. 58 Kambrie Brandt (MU) 9.819, No. 74 Hannah McCrary (MU) 9.8
UNEVEN BARS No. 30 Hu (MU) 9.869, No. 41 Sydney Laird (UA) 9.856, No. 44 Hambrick (UA) 9.85, No. 55 Bailey Lovett (UA) 9.844, No. 74 Tucker (MU) 9.825, No. 94 Gianfagna (UA) 9.808, No. 100 Porter (MU) 9.8
BALANCE BEAM No. 6 Hu (MU) 9.925, No. 52 Yamzon (UA) 9.825, No. 58 Schreiber (MU) 9.819, No. 66 Gabrielle Gottula (MU) 9.813
FLOOR EXERCISE No. 9 Sophia Carter (UA) 9.912, No. 31 (tie) Lovett (UA), Porter (MU) 9.881, No. 34 Hambrick (UA) 9.875, No. 52 Shaffer (UA) 9.862, No. 87 McCrary (MU) 9.831
Former Arkansas All-American Casey Jo (Magee) MacPherson is in her seventh season on the Missouri staff, her first as associate head coach. … The teams split two meets last season. Missouri won 196.2 to 195.825 at the Metroplex Challenge on Jan. 26, and the Razorbacks won 196.474 to 195.9 at the SEC Championships on March 23.
Arkansas (0-4, 0-2 SEC) is still looking for its initial victory for first-year Coach Jordyn Wieber and trying to stop a 10-meet SEC losing streak when it faces Missouri today. The 6 p.m. meet at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo., will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
The Razorbacks have to disassociate their dual meet losing streak from their performances as they moved up to No. 14 in the national rankings this week.
Weiber's first four meets have come against teams currently ranked Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 12.
Such is life in SEC gymnastics.
The Razorbacks have not won a dual meet since a rout of No. 18 Arizona last Jan. 12 in Tucson, Ariz. Their last victory over an SEC opponent in a dual meet came in a 196.75-to-194.875 decision over No. 16 Auburn on Feb. 9, 2018.
Since then, the Razorbacks have placed fifth in consecutive SEC championships -- beating Kentucky, Auburn and Missouri last year -- but have struggled with nine consecutive SEC dual meet losses.
Arkansas will be led by the nation's No. 4-ranked floor exercise team. Junior Sophia Carter is ninth nationally on the event, while redshirt freshman Bailey Lovett is tied for 31st with Missouri all-around Morgan Porter and others. Arkansas sophomore Kennedy Hambrick, who has improved to 25th in the all-around rankings (39.25), is up to 34th on the floor. Razorbacks junior Sarah Shaffer, who has returned from injury to go up on three events the past two meets, is 52nd on the floor exercise.
The Razorbacks are now in the top 25 nationally in all four events, including 16th on the uneven bars, 22nd on the balance beam and 23rd on the vault.
A series of poor landings on the vault by the Razorbacks last week gave Kentucky enough of a cushion on the opening rotation to hang on as Arkansas blew out a 49.525 showing on the floor exercise.
Missouri's top even is the beam, where the Tigers' 49.088 average score is eighth in the country.
Sports on 01/31/2020
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