Photo credit Ty Russell, OU Athletics
Jocelyn Alo was named Big 12 Player of the Year, Grace Lyons earned Defensive Player of the Year, Tiare Jennings named Freshman of the Year and head coach Patty Gasso was voted Coach of the Year as Oklahoma dominated the postseason Big 12 awards, as voted by the conference head coaches.
Alo leads the nation in home runs (26) and slugging percentage (1.147). She’s also second in RBIs (71), sixth in runs per game (1.23), seventh in batting average (.481) and 10th in on-base percentage (.574). In Big 12 play, Alo is second only to teammate Jayda Coleman in batting average. She is tied for the lead in walks (28), second in RBIs and on-base percentage, third in total bases (148) and hits (1.41), and fourth in runs scored.
She becomes OU’s 14th Big 12 Player of the Year award winner and the fifth in the last six seasons. A top-10 finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Alo is batting .500 with seven home runs, 22 RBIs and a 1.042 slugging clip in Big 12 play.
Lyons made a strong case as the best short stop in the nation. She has 45 putouts and 50 assists with just three errors for a .969 fielding percentage and has turned six double plays. She’s not bad with a bat in her hand either. Ranked fourth in the Big 12 in batting average (.447), Lyons is behind three of her teammates. The junior is third in the conference in on-base percentage (.542), fifth in runs scored (51), sixth in slugging percentage (.821), tied for eighth in doubles (10) and 10th in hits (55) and total bases (101).
One of just two freshmen in the country named as a top-10 finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, Jennings became Oklahoma’s sixth consecutive Big 12 Freshman of the Year award winner and ninth overall. She was the unanimous choice for the award by the league’s head coaches.
In 2021 she produced 23 home runs, which ranked her third in the country, recorded a nation-best 72 RBIs and ranks 10th nationally with a .468 batting average. In the Big 12, Jennings ranks first in RBIs, runs scored (60) and shares the lead with 14 doubles. She’s second in the country, and in the conference, to Jocelyn Alo with a 1.057 slugging percentage. In the field, Jennings has started every game of her freshman season at second or third base and registered 44 putouts and 35 assists to two errors for a .975 fielding percentage.
Patty Gasso won her ninth consecutive Big 12 Coach of the Year award while also winning her ninth consecutive conference championship. In 27 seasons at Oklahoma she has won the award 13 times. No other coach in the Big 12 has won more than three Big 12 Coach of the Year awards.
In addition to the four major award winners, Oklahoma also placed five on the All-Big 12 First Team. Freshman Jayda Coleman and redshirt senior Shannon Saile joined Alo, Lyons and Jennings. Both Alo and Saile were unanimous selections.
Coleman, Jennings and pitcher Nicole May were all unanimous members of the All-Big 12 Freshman Team.
Oklahoma takes on Baylor at 2 p.m. (Central) on Friday and then Texas Tech at 7:30 p.m., in pool play of the Big 12 tournament.
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