Found May 30, 2013 on Fox Sports Arizona:
By JEFF LATZKE AP Sports Writer OKLAHOMA CITY -- One year after squandering a lead with the national championship on the line, Oklahoma comes rolling into the Women's College World Series as the favorite to win this year's NCAA softball title and the toast of the sport. The Sooners (52-4) lead the nation in scoring, they have the best earned-run average and they arrive at college softball's premiere event after clobbering their way through the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament. Both of their super regional victories came via the run rule, as did two of their three wins in regional play. Oklahoma even had two of the three national player of the year finalists, with Keilani Ricketts repeating in front of slugging teammate Lauren Chamberlain. But as the World Series begins Thursday, coach Patty Gasso isn't putting the Sooners head and shoulders above the competition. "Anybody can do it. If it was supposed to be Oklahoma's, we wouldn't be sitting here right now. You would have given us the trophy and we would have walked away. And that's not how it works," Gasso said Wednesday. "So, it's the team that is really at their best and we're fighting really hard just like everybody else to be at our best, but it's going to take those little breaks that come along the way." The Sooners know all about those little breaks. Last June, Ricketts homered and the Sooners were leading 3-0 in the decisive Game 3 of last year's World Series when rain started falling. Ricketts threw three wild pitches to allow one run to score and couldn't recover after the game was delayed, allowing Alabama to take the lead on its way to a 5-4 victory. It was Ricketts who struck out to end the game and set off the Crimson Tide's celebration. "Obviously, last year was a disappointment and it still lives in these players somewhat. But this is such a different road with different players and it's just a different team," Gasso said. "We really don't look back anymore. We just look forward." What's ahead is a difficult, balanced field that includes two teams apiece from the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12. Thursday's four games in the double-elimination tournament are: Oklahoma-Michigan, Florida-Tennessee, Texas-Arizona State and Nebraska-Washington. "Clearly, they're the team that we have to beat, and they're a great team," said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins, who led the Wolverines to the 2005 national title. "They're a great team in every category, in every aspect. As a coach, you look at the opponent and try to look for a weakness that you can exploit, and we're still looking." The rest of the teams in the field all have their strengths, too. Arizona State has won two championships since 2008, with current ace Dallas Escobedo in the circle two years ago to win it all, and Washington was the 2009 champ. Defending champion Alabama was knocked off by SEC rival Tennessee in the super regionals. The country's top four scoring teams -- Oklahoma, Tennessee, Michigan and Arizona State -- are all present. Not far behind is second-seeded Florida, which has taken a step away from relying so heavily on the long ball and also ranks in the top 25 in stolen bases. "Home runs come and go, especially on a stage like this," said coach Tim Walton, who got the Gators to the championship series in 2009 and 2011. "I think you really have to do a good job of playing catch, pitching really well. I don't think you can do it with a home run. We've tried. We've tried a couple times to do it with home runs. It didn't work so well for us." Texas, which got to the World Series after a no-hitter by Blaire Luna in the super regionals, is one of two teams in the field that have beaten Oklahoma. The other is 14th-seeded Nebraska, which is in the final eight for the first time since 2002. None of them has beaten Ricketts (31-1), whose only loss this season came against Louisville. After last season's disappointment, she started this year with a no-hitter and has a 1.22 ERA and 311 strikeouts to go along with a .375 average, 13 home runs and 54 RBIs. "She brings so much to the table, but it's more than a one-woman show as you know with OU," Longhorns coach Connie Clark said. "They're very balanced and very talented, but the game is the game. ... With the eight great teams matching up, you're just not really sure what's going to happen. You just play hard. I think any of the eight teams could get it done this week."

2013 College football: Oklahoma Sooners preseason hype video

Get pumped for the Oklahoma Sooners' 2013 college football season with this rowdy hype video.

Bob Stoops goes unnoticed during tornado relief

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops often can't make a move without someone noticing it in his football-crazy state. So on Sunday when Stoops, without an entourage or cameras around him, decided to help with the cleanup of last week's devastating tornado in Moore, Okla., it caught Oklahomans off-guard. A resident posted facebook photos of Stoops in a black T-shirt and jeans helping...

Only 93 More Days Until Sooner Football Begins; Get Ready By Watching This Video

Need some Sooner football to tide you over until the Sooner football season begins in 93 days?  Watch this video! This is the 2007 Oklahoma Sooners Football Intro video #3 by  This is one of the best intro videos from a historical perspective as it highlights the things that make the University of Oklahoma football team great.  There are some great players and...

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops anonymously helps with Tornado relief

It’s nice to see local sports figures helping Moore, Oklahoma rebuild in wake of the devastating tornado over a week ago. Kevin Durant donated $1 million dollars, and now Oklahoma Sooners head football coach, Bob Stoops, was one of the many members on the scene helping with the cleanup efforts. According to Oklahoma’s senior associate athletics director for external operations...

Ricketts no-hits Michigan, OU captures opener

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Sooners are off on the right track if they’re to realize their ultimate goal of winning a national championship, defeating Michigan 7-1 behind a no-hitter from Keilani Ricketts in Women’s College World Series opening round action Thursday evening at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Anonymously OU Coach Bob Stoops Helps With Tornado Cleanup

See on – Sooner4OU For nearly thirty minutes OU head Coach Bob Stoops anonymously aided in the tornado cleanup efforts in Moore, Oklahoma.  Others aiding in the cleanup said the coach just blended in with everybody else and said nothing, just worked.  This is classic Bob Stoops as his attendance wasn’t publicized and he wasn’t trying to garner any accolades for his...

Photos: Bob Stoops Anonymously Volunteers In Oklahoma Cleanup

Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops helped cleanup after disastrous tornadoes swept through the state last week. According to Oklahoma Senior Associate Athletic Director Kenny Mossman, Stoops went unnoticed for about 30 minutes. The Sooners coach is the farthest to the left wearing a OU visor.  Apparently Bob Stoops showed up at a site and blended in for about 30 min before...

Photo: Bob Stoops anonymously joins the Oklahoma tornado cleanup effort

Sooners coach Bob Stoops took time away from the practice field to anonymously help out the cleanup effort in tornado-stricken Moore, Oklahoma.
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.