NCAA Regional: Oklahoma Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 15, 2014

NCAA Regional
Oklahoma Quotes
May 15, 2014

Head Coach Patty Gasso

Opening Statement:
“As usual, we’re thrilled to be at home and hosting. We’re very excited about the group of teams that are here. We know that we’re going to be extremely challenged by them, but I love the way that we finished our season and how we’re playing, so we feel very prepared for what’s to come. We hope to put it out there the best we can.”

On the status of Lauren Chamberlain:
“We’re getting close to knowing how far she can go. She has a partially torn PCL. The good news is you can brace those sometimes and do some things with them. It just happened not very long ago so we’re working to get the brace on; she’s working with it. It’s going to be a game-day decision, and it’s really going to be up to Lauren.”

On who would be the next player up if Chamberlain can’t play:
“I don’t even know right now. I think we might make a decision with what we see in our practice. There are a lot of options. It’s really a matchup of who fits the pitcher that we’re facing best, who maybe hits a drop ball better, who hits a changeup better. So we’re not quite sure where we would go with that yet; we’ll deal with it. But everybody is prepared. It’s not going to be a surprise to anybody. We’re prepared for it.”

On if she feels reassured having Brittany Williams if Chamberlain can’t play:
“Absolutely, and it gives me options. We’ve been playing with Jessica Vest a little bit in the outfield. From the beginning this has been a makeshift kind of a group going on. A great example is Shelby Pendley, who joined the mound from a two-year hiatus since high school. We’re just putting athletes out on the field and letting them do their thing. I think that’s one reason why this has been such a rewarding season is we have put some athletes in positions, not just on the field but overall, in positions that they’ve not been in before and they’ve stepped up more times than not and that’s why we’re here right now.”

On how much momentum they can gain from finishing the season as strong as they have:
“I think momentum can play a big part in any sport, especially softball. I think this team understands how to win. They don’t panic when they’re behind; they know how to answer when someone scores on them. They know how to do it late in games. I think we’re just going to put it all out there and trust that it’s going to be enough. At the same time, you’re not going to see this team ever, ever quit. If we’re ahead or behind, we’re going to play our guts out. That’s what you have to do this time of the season.”

On whose idea it was to have Shelby Pendley pitch:
“She came to me when we were having a little bit of struggle and said she pitched in high school. I was like, “Yeah, okay, whatever,” but when you have an athlete like this that says something you have to listen. We just snuck her into the indoor and she threw a little bit. She looked really smooth. Her mechanics looked very easy and fluid. She had good spin for not throwing for so long. It was like, ‘We might be able to do something with this.’ Unfairly, I threw her out against ULL, who is probably one of the best hitting teams, if not the best offense in the country, and she held her ground. She had maybe two sessions in the bullpen before I did that. I felt horrible doing it, but I think the entire team pretty much said to her, ‘You’re for real and we’re going to play hard behind you.’ I think that kind of opened up the door. I think it motivated [Kelsey Stevens], as well. I just enjoy working with athletes that will do anything for their team and are not afraid.”

On the importance of having home-field advantage in the postseason:
“As we become a little more popular around the state, I think each year the volume goes up a little bit more; we broke some home attendance records this year. Being familiar with your field, being familiar with the way the dirt plays, being comfortable in your own home and your routines, you don’t have to break those up, so it’s a huge advantage for us, and especially with our fans and the way they get locked into the game. It’s a fun place to play.”

On facing Bryant:
“I’ll tell you that they have a fiery, first-year coach that I’m sure has got her team ready to play. They’re athletes. Watching them on video, you can see that they can swing the bat. They’ve got a little bit of speed. They’ve got lefty slappers throughout their lineup, as well. They’re going to compete. We really didn’t know much about them before we knew we were going to play them, but we’ve studied them enough to know that we’re going to have to be on our game.”

On if there was a sense of relief getting the No. 7 national seed:
“Oh, absolutely. Of course it was the very last seed announced. I felt confident we’d be anywhere from seven to 10, so when they took away the eight and nine, we honestly felt that seven would be our spot, at least I did, because of the body of work, especially the second half of the season and what this team accomplished. So yes, long answer to short, is absolutely. We are thrilled to be No. 7.”

Junior Infielder Shelby Pendley

On the transition going back to pitching:
“It took a couple of weeks to get back into pitching shape. It’s kind of fun; I didn’t realize how much I missed it from pitching in high school until now. It’s a different feeling; you’re in control on every single pitch, whereas at third base, not so much.

On if she was the main pitcher on her high school team:
“Yes and no. I was until my sister played up with us and then she was the main pitcher.

On the difference between the team’s play in the last two months versus earlier in the year:
“I think just the whole chemistry of the team has just really come together in the last two months. In the beginning of the season we were still trying to figure out how everything worked, who worked best where and things like that. I think it’s just really gelling right now.”

Sophomore Pitcher Kelsey Stevens

On her progression over the course of the season:
“I feel like no matter where you’re at, you should be getting better as the season goes along because you get more games and more chances to face batters. It’s just helped me get more efficient, and working with the team has been great. They’re always helping me on defense, as well, so I can’t give it all to me. I think it’s just being more efficient as time goes on.”

On if there was an adjustment making the transition from Stanford to Oklahoma:
“Yeah, I think so. They’re definitely just a lot more locked in at practice and a lot more focused on defense. I feel like my defensive game has really improved, especially since last year, so that’s helped a lot.”



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