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OU softball 'acts like it's been there before,' knows job is not done vs. No. 1 Texas

Bob Przybyloby:Bob Przybylo06/06/24


OKLAHOMA CITY – For all the talk about OU softball and the way it celebrates, you know when the Sooners didn’t?

After Kelly Maxwell earned the final strikeout of the night to punctuate a dominant win against No. 1 Texas, there wasn’t jubilation.

Act like you’ve been there before? That’s what OU did. It’s great to win Game 1, a huge advantage. But the job is not done.

The Sooners were on in the 8-3 win against the Longhorns in the Women’s College World Series championship series.

Game 2 is 7 p.m. on ESPN. You’d have to expect, and OU sure does, that Texas is ready to fight back.

“I know that Texas, they’re not no softies,” senior co-captain Kinzie Hansen said. “They’re not going to roll over. Coach White does a great job getting them pumped up for stuff like that. Yea, if they feel that way, they’re going to come out and try to bow up to us, for sure.”

The criticism comes far and wide for this OU team gunning for its fourth straight national championship. You get to this stage, and OU usually does, and put under the microscope.

Why celebrate the walk? What are you jumping up and down about? Yet, when you just earned the right to be one win away from making history, just business as usual.

“You see us here, and we’re not over-jubilant because we know there’s still a lot of work to do against a very, very good team that has very good pitchers, very good hitters,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “I mean, we know what’s in front of us still. So you don’t see us celebrating.”

That comes with the experience. When you have 10 seniors and so many of them know what it takes in OKC, you let them set the example.

It’s, however, probably the biggest change for Gasso this season. A lot of this program in 2024 is senior-led, kind of hard for it not to be.

There’s going to be a time for that emotion come out, but it’s not after winning Game 1.

“I think for me, I hold in a lot of emotion,” Gasso said. When it comes out, you don’t want to be around. I hold it in. I try to keep it very steady. Don’t get too high, don’t get too low.

“When we went into the locker room, it was like, hey, great job, everybody did their job. It wasn’t throwing water at each other. Wasn’t doing all of that. It was just knowing the importance of staying focused in what we’re doing.”

Setting the Game 2 stage

OK, so Maxwell defied the logic and was brilliant again in Game 1. Gasso mentioned there’s something internally going on with Maxwell at this moment. Maybe you just don’t mess with it?

Nicole May, Kierston Deal remain ready to go if their number is called. But Maxwell has been so good vs. UT this season, tough call.

As for Texas? The Horns threw four arms out there Wednesday. Their confidence was rocked, no question, when Tiare Jennings took Teagan Kavan deep in the first inning.

Who’s gonna be the 2023 Jordy Bahl or 2024 Maxwell for the Longhorns? Time is ticking to figure it all out.

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