March 16, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY-----Despite a season-high road score by sixth-ranked Georgia, No. 5 Utah held off the Gym Dogs, 198.025-197.600, in front of 15,224 fans Saturday night at the Huntsman Center.
Utah (10-3) led throughout the meet, but the Gym Dogs (6-5) stayed within striking distance and trailed by just .015 going to the final rotation. A 49.575 on floor, including a perfect 10.0 by Nansy Damianova clinched the win for the Utes.
"For us to do well in this environment is huge for us," said UGA head coach Danna Durante. "Floor was fantastic for us tonight, and I'm proud of them for putting last week behind us. Every single routine was strong on that event. It will springboard us into SECs next week.
"I have to mention finishing strong on beam too. We will finish on that event next week, so we are excited about that heading into SECs."
Georgia turned in its best floor score of the season and was just half a tenth shy of equaling its highest overall score of the year. Sophomore Brittany Rogers won her fifth all-around title of the season with a career-high 39.600.
Utah jumped out to a 49.575-49.325 lead after the first rotation. Georgia - the nation's top ranked team on bars - was led by Rogers with a 9.9 and Brandie Jay with a 9.875.
The Gym Dogs cut into the Utah lead with a 49.525 on vault in the second rotation. Jay tied for first with a 9.95, while Rogers tied her season-high with a 9.925, and Cat Hires added a 9.9. At the halfway mark Utah held a 98.950-98.850 edge.
Utah increased its lead by a half a tenth in the third rotation. The Utes scored a season-high 49.5 on beam, while Georgia registered its best mark of the season with a 49.45 on floor. Jay tied her season-high with a 9.95, Hires set a new career-high with a 9.9, and Mary Beth Box and Rogers scored back-to-back 9.875s.
Georgia trailed 148.450-148.300 going to the fourth rotation, and the Gym Dogs closed the meet with a 49.3 on beam. Lindsey Cheek tied for first with a 9.925 for her 17th event title of the season. Utah sealed the win with a 49.575 on floor.
Georgia gymnasts tied or set five season-highs and three career-highs, and the 197.600 is the Gym Dogs' highest score in a dual meet at Utah.
Georgia will begin postseason competition at the SEC Championship March 22 at the BJCC in Birmingham, Ala. The Gym Dogs will compete in the 7 p.m. ET session with Florida, LSU and Alabama. Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri will be in the first session at 3 p.m.
1. Utah - 198.025 (VT - 49.575, UB - 49.325, BB - 49.5, FX - 49.575)
2. Georgia - 197.600 (VT - 49.575, UB - 49.325, BB - 49.300, FX - 49.45)