No. 9 Alabama (1-3; 1-2 SEC) didn’t hold up well in road encounters. His only win of the season came in a home game against No. 12 Kentucky.
Luckily for Alabama, the team will be back at Coleman Coliseum on Friday against the visiting No. 17 West Michigan Broncos and No. 25 North Carolina Tar Heels.
Although Alabama maintains a losing record, they improved on their season high in the second and third weeks of the season. The Crimson Tide didn’t post a season-high score in last week’s loss to Auburn, but put up the fourth-best balance beam rotation in the nation. Alabama scored a 49.650, which is only behind No. 3 Utah’s 49.725 and No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 4 Florida’s 49.700.
During Monday’s press conference, head coach Dana Duckworth shared her excitement for her team finding a place in their specialty event. Duckworth is a two-time NCAA champion on balance beam.
“It was wonderful to see all that hard work pay off, and especially in such a noisy environment with a lot of pressure on the strong finishing line,” Duckworth said. “I think the pace we’re setting and where we’re heading is quite positive.”
Alabama is currently tied with Auburn for the fifth-best season average on beam at 49.288. Western Michigan is 13th on beam with a 49.125, while North Carolina is ranked 21st with a 48.963.
Duckworth did it all in the vault last week, burning six 10.0 starting values into the rotation. The risk was not rewarded at Auburn as Alabama tallied 49.025, marking its second-lowest score of the season on vault.
Despite the result, Duckworth won’t hesitate to fill the roster card with six starting values of 10.0 going forward, which she says is the team’s goal.
“You have to do it now and get those reps in the bright lights,” Duckworth said. “We use these opportunities to help our young women understand how to manage their adrenaline and not change what they do every day in training when they are in the spotlight.”
Alabama’s Achilles’ heel last week was their slow start accompanied by a weak performance of the season on bars and their performance on vault. Junior Ella Burgess is hoping for a good position in the tri-meet, which she said they are “more than capable” of accomplishing.
Friday’s game marks the halfway point of the regular season. Alabama posted scores north of 49.500 on uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise, but junior Mati Waligora said there’s still “a lot more in the tank” and is looking forward to set up a full performance.
“I think we haven’t got everything in place yet, but we’re ready to be aggressive and do it,” Waligora said.
- Alabama – No. 14 nationally, 49.081 season average
- Western Michigan – No. 23 nationally, season average 48.958
- North Carolina – No. 30 nationally, 48.888 season average
- Alabama – No. 7 nationally, 49,319 season average
- Western Michigan – No. 27 nationally, season average 48.833
- North Carolina – No. 19 nationally, season average 48.963
- Alabama – No. 5 nationally, 49.288 season average
- Western Michigan – No. 13 nationally, 49.125 season average
- North Carolina – No. 21 nationally, season average 48.963
- Alabama – No. 14 nationally, 49.206 season average
- Western Michigan – No. 17 nationally, 49.192 season average
- North Carolina – No. 39 nationally, 48.788 season average
Find out this Friday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. CT at Coleman Coliseum if Alabama can put on a full performance. The meeting will be televised on the SEC network.