Coming off back-to-back upsets of top-five teams and its highest team score of the season, the 10th-ranked Georgia Gymdogs are (4-3) are set to host No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday at 4 PM. Can they knock off the top ranked Sooners?
The meet will be broadcast on SEC Network + and will be available both online and on the WatchESPN app. Kevin Copp will handle play-by-play and former Gymdog Cat Hires will provide the color commentary.
Dubbed the Pink and Green Meet, Saturday’s contest with the Sooners will provide top-quality gymnastics as well as serve to raise cancer awareness.
“This meet isn’t just an opportunity to wear a different ribbon than red and black,” said Georgia senior Mary Beth Box. “It’s a competition where we get to compete for something that’s greater than ourselves. Usually we’re just competing for the University of Georgia, for our teammates, for everyone who supports us. But the fact that we get to compete for those who have battled cancer and those who survived cancer and have shown great strength and courage in life, it’s incredible.”
Georgia posted a season-high mark of 197.525 as a team in its upset of No. 5 LSU in its last competition. The Gymdogs won event titles on bars (Brittany Rogers-9.95), beam (Rogers-9.925), and floor (Jay-9.925), and also had the top all-around performance (Jay-39.675). The victory came on the heels of Georgia’s triumph over then-No. 1 Florida in which the Gymdogs overcame a deficit of 0.9 heading into the final rotation, using three 9.95’s on the floor to beat the Gators.
In the series history against Oklahoma, Georgia holds an 18-10 advantage and a 7-1 lead in Athens. The Gymdogs are 5-3 against their Big 12 counterpart in dual meet action.
“For us it’s just been about getting a little bit better each week,” said Georgia head coach Danna Durante. “Where did we finish in January? (Thinking) where are we going to be at the end of February and knowing that we have strides to take each week. Last week what we focused on was landings, and I think we saw significant improvement across the board. The focus will stay on Georgia. What can we do (to win)?”
The Gymdogs currently hold the No. 10 overall team ranking in the country with an average meet score of 196.182. They are in the top six of three separate events; vault (No. 5), bars (No. 4), and floor (No. 6). The team score of 49.425 on the beam in the LSU meet was the highest of the season so far for Georgia.
Individually, UGA has several players that rank among the nation’s best. SEC Co-Gymnast of the Week Brandie Jay holds the fourth-best all-around average in the nation, coming in at 39.469. She also ranks third in vault (9.9 average) and 15th in bars (9.868 average). Fellow seniors Brittany Rogers (No. 4 on bars, 9.896) and Box (No. 13 on floor, 9.904) also hold high marks nationally.
Even with the strong history against Oklahoma, the recent tilts have gone to the Sooners. OU has won seven consecutive meets against the Gymdogs, with the last Georgia victory coming in Lincoln, Nebraska in the postseason of the 2009 campaign.
The meet will be Georgia’s third consecutive home meet after opening the season with four of the first five competitions on the road.
“The energy in the building is going to be phenomenal,” said Durante. “Oklahoma brings in an incredibly high skill level. We have that. We’ve seen that the past two weekends at home and that just raises the bar, raises our game, makes us compete at our best. I’m excited to get back out in front of our fans. ”
After the Oklahoma meet, the Gymdogs will hit the road once again as they travel to Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. The meet will broadcast live on the SEC Network.
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