They took the long way to get there but Oklahoma has finally arrived to the championship round of the Women’s College World Series. After dropping their opening game in OKC, the Sooners battled back through the loser’s bracket and finally sent James Madison packing to punch their ticket to the best-of-three championship round. Here’s what Jayda Coleman, Giselle Juarez, and Patty Gasso had to say following Monday’s win over the Dukes.
You know, I knew we were going to come out swinging. They’re an aggressive team, so just understanding that I have to attack the zone and trust my stuff and trust my D and understanding that my hitters have my back the entire way, and they did.Giselle Juarez on dominating the order after giving up a home run on the first pitch of the game
Exceptional. On the big stage, exceptional. They are very aggressive first-pitch-type hitting team, and their 1, 2 hitters are very good and they’re just fishing for what they want. It’s almost like wherever you throw it I’m going to hit it and I’m going to hit it hard.
It was nice that maybe it did happen in the first so it gave us more time to kind of get ourselves in order. I think Odicci did a really nice job early kind of keeping us off the bags and getting us a little bit frustrated, but Giselle, the words I kept hearing was, “We got your back, Giselle, keep us in the game, we’ve got your back,” just constant.
Jocelyn Alo, I heard her say that quite a bit. Giselle, this is the best she’s been throwing all season the last week and a half, two weeks. She’s been throwing outstanding. Very proud of her and excited about what she can do in this next couple of days.Patty Gasso on Juarez’s performance after giving up the home run
Just attacking the zone and just trying to keep them off balance. They were coming out swinging and they’re a good hitting team, so respecting them and attacking the zone, but really staying within myself and going at my pace and knowing that every time I get three outs, our hitters are back up there.
So just giving them the opportunity to get back in the dugout and get hits.Juarez on if she made any changes after giving up the home run
Yeah, I mean, we have had to go into every single game knowing this could be our last, and now we get to go into tomorrow but we have some breathing room. But we’re really just going to take it the same as we take every single game. We’re just going to go out there and attack every pitcher and we’re going to play hard on defense and just play our game every single game.Jayda Coleman on playing four consecutive elimination games
They don’t want it to be over. I think every team feels that. It’s just really important to try to play your best, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
We’ve been in some tough situations before and they’ve handled it so well, so I think going through some adversity through the season and playing in some tough environments and tough situations has really groomed this team for this type of tournament.Patty Gasso on playing for consecutive elimination games
Just shows how much we give into this sport and how much we give into this program. I mean, they’ve been gone, they’ve been graduated for a while and they’re still coming back and they’re still supporting, probably losing their voices just like mine and just doing everything they can to just have our backs.
It just shows that we have heart and we’d do anything for this program and for our Sooner sisters.Coleman on having the alumni cheering them on behind the dugout
Yeah, it was really important for some of our players that haven’t — maybe we haven’t talked too much about since we’ve been in the tournament, to see Nicole Mendes lead us off, I thought Jana Johns had some really quality at-bats today.
It was nice to see Jayda Coleman come through. She’s really been actually trying too hard, and we put some action plays on for her, like some angle down and runs and some things that will force her to swing a little bit differently, and she did. It really worked out for her.
Of course Lou is the hottest player in the tournament right now I would imagine. I really love what those guys have been doing, and you didn’t have to depend so much on the top three, although Kinzie swung it well today, Jocey kind of put the icing on the cake with her home run late in the game, but it was just nice to see different faces and different ways of getting it done besides the big home run.Gasso on Oklahoma’s big fourth inning
I’m honestly star struck right now. This has been my dream ever since I was 12 years old and committing to this University, and I’m just so excited. I can’t wait to go out there with my sisters and just give all we’ve got and just give all of our heart to the game that we love, and hopefully it just goes our way.Coleman on making it to the championship series
Game recognizes game, and she is a baller. I have mad respect for her, and she gave everything she had and I think it’s really awesome that they did give her that standing ovation. She earned it. She deserves it. She’s worked hard, and I think she’s a competitor, and she did great this year.Juarez on the standing ovation that Odicci Alexander received
Yeah, wow. Just wow. We didn’t know a lot about JMU. We haven’t ever played them, not that I can remember in my years here at OU. What a competitor. She made us better. She made us work. She is outstanding.
Their coaching staff, outstanding, cool and calm, hardworking players. A real joy to watch, a real joy to play against. I certainly have tremendous respect for them and what they’ve done while they’ve been here.
Like I said, they made us better, and more than anything, I think they’ve brought a lot of fans into the fold of college softball. They were fun to root for, they were fun to watch. Odicci is an incredible pitcher, but just an incredible athlete.
Some of the plays that she made I think forever will be in our minds just watching that squeeze play that she dove and made that play on against Oklahoma State. She is just a great competitor. It was honestly an honor to play against her.
But I think singlehandedly James Madison made our sport better because they brought a lot of people in that wanted to watch them. I think that’s the ultimate compliment I could give a coach and a program, and they were in.Gasso on Adicci Alexander and JMU
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