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Auburn Tigers

Stevens' big night propels Auburn over Alabama


AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn Tigers gymnastics team defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 197.725-197.050 on Friday night to earn just their fourth victory all time over their rivals from up north.

The night was highlighted by a monstrous all-around performance from graduate student Cassie Stevens, as well as an incredible whole team effort. A night with practically no misses led to the Tigers securing a season-high score.

“That was fun,” said Auburn head coach Jeff Graba. “Can I leave that as my opening statement?”

The Tigers were loose and controlled from the start, and it was evident in the team’s scores. Auburn would start with a season high 49.500 on vault, and would add a season high 49.475 on beam as well as another season high 49.525 on floor.

“I’m just really proud of our team as a whole,” Stevens said. “This is what it’s supposed to be like. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be easy. I’m just so proud of the way that we’ve fought through the beginning of this season, and to be able to put a full meet together tonight, it feels really good.” 

While the team effort was impressive, perhaps the most impressive performance of the night came from Cassie Stevens. With career highs on the beam and all around, Stevens delivered for the Tigers in arguably the biggest meet of the season thus far.

A near perfect 9.975 on beam marked the highest score recorded in any event by a Tiger gymnast this season. Stevens would also light up the scoreboard in her other rotations, scoring a 9.925 on vault, a 9.900 on bars and a 9.900 on floor. She finished the night with a 39.700 all-around score, a score that could certainly make some waves in the postseason.

“I can’t say enough about her performance,” Graba said. “A 39.700 is an amazing score. That might win you the national championship if you do that in Fort Worth.”

After going through a more than undesirable streak of losing 13 meets in a row to the Tide, Auburn has now beaten Alabama three times in the past four years. The win tonight marked just their fourth victory in program history over their rivals.

Stevens, along with fellow graduate student Aria Brusch, became the first Tigers in program history to beat Alabama three times in a career.

“I think we’re at a point now, and they’ve helped get us to a point now, where it’s not an anomaly when we win,” Graba said. “I remember a decade of answering that question. Then it was ‘well you just won once,’ and ‘you barely beat them,’ and stuff like that. It’s just nice to get that to be just a normal matchup. It’s not a fluke when we win, and they’re a huge part of that.”

Auburn will look to continue this momentum into the second half of the season. Up next for the Tigers is a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to take on the LSU Tigers. That meet is scheduled for Feb. 16 and will begin at 8 p.m. CT. The action can be seen live on the SEC Network.

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