Gymnastics faces Missouri Tigers in first road test of the season

The not-so-friendly foes will face off Friday night


Hannah Saad | @hannah_saad21

The Tide faces off against Oklahoma in the winter of 2020.

The first road tournament is always the toughest. Alabama is set to meet in Columbia, Mo. this Friday in what looks to be the best competition yet for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama will head into the Hearnes Center Friday night ranked No. 4 and face the No. 14 Missouri Tigers. The team looks to build off of the 196.850 they posted against Kentucky. 

“I’m very pleased about last week’s performance,” head coach Dana Duckworth said. “The ladies have worked very hard this week and they are more prepared this week than they were last week, so I feel they should have a lot of confidence from their preparation.”

Being the first road meet of the season, Duckworth stated the importance of staying in the “Bama Bubble,” which she feels will allow the team to compete to the best of its ability. 

“We’re turned around, not watching the other team and just focused on us and what we need to do,” senior Alonza Klopfer said. 

Despite a win that bumped the team up to a No. 4 ranking, Duckworth believes there is always room for improvement on each event. Duckworth said an extra focus on the details this week will allow for a more complete performance against Missouri. Against the Kentucky Wildcats, Alabama suffered a fall on each event except vault, but was able to recover on each of them.

“I think we left some room for improvement on every single event,” Duckworth said. “We want to go 24-for-24 on routines to the very best of their ability.”

The three events Alabama suffered falls on were bars, beam and floor. Duckworth believes that in order to build off of these performances on these events the players must stick more landings and do more handstands on the bars, exhibit comfort and confidence on beam and “stay the course” on floor. 

Both sophomore Makarri Doggette and junior Griffin James will head into Columbia with an extra boost of confidence up their sleeves. Doggette was named the SEC Specialist of the Week after scoring a 9.9 on bars and a team-leading score of 9.925 on the balance beam. James is coming off her first floor performance since tearing her Achilles last year against Arkansas. 

“Now I have that confidence again,” James said. “Now I can have fun with it [floor routine] and really show off.”

Alabama has not been a friendly foe to Missouri, which has gone 0-9 since the Tigers joined the Southeastern Conference back in 2012. 

Duckworth hopes that, come Friday night, fans will see a complete well-rounded performance. 

“What I hope you see is an awesome attitude, incredible effort and to be present in the moment,” Duckworth said, referring to the audience. 

First vault between Alabama and Missouri is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT on Friday, Jan. 15, and can be streamed on the SEC Network plus.