While the scene outside of Memorial Coliseum Friday night looked like a winter wonderland thanks to a brewing snowstorm, inside there was no doubt to the 1,644 fans who braved the weather that a crimson tidal wave was pouring in. The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide gymnastics team easily defeated the Lady Wildcats of Kentucky 196.000-194.700 in a night in which the Tide was not at their best, according to head coach Sarah Patterson.
"This was one of those blue collar nights. The ladies weren't perfect, but we made some adjustments that will help us step forward. This was one of those nights that we worked really, really hard to get the score we had," Patterson said. "This is one of the times that I don't want the ladies to focus on the score, but just focus on our performance."
The Tide was led by junior Ashley Sledge and her winning score of 39.175 on the all-around. The Tide also had, for the first time all season, a different top scorer on all four events. This was due in large part to Patterson's having to shuffle around the rotation to accommodate senior Ashley Priess, who competed in only two events instead of her usual all-around after being limited in practice this week due to an illness. Patterson was pleased the way her squad competed given the unusual circumstances.
"We were able to move some things around a little bit and still come out with a Southeastern Conference win," she said. "Now we just have to get on an emotional high again for Arkansas next week."
The Tide, who improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC, welcome the No. 17 Razorbacks to Tuscaloosa this coming Friday for the eighth annual Power of Pink Meet. The meet has become an annual tradition for the Tide and helps to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The meet is scheduled to start at 7:30 pm CT.