NORMAN, Okla. – Keilani Ricketts added one more title to her illustrious career on Thursday as she was honored as the Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year. With her selection, Ricketts joins women’s basketball player Stacey Dales (2001-02) as the only Sooners to be the conference’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Nominees are submitted by each Big 12 institution and selected, based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship, by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through the Big 12’s social media outlets.
Ricketts garnered the 2013 Honda Cup as the nation’s top female collegiate student-athlete after leading Oklahoma to the Women’s College World Series title, the second in school history. She received the Honda Award for softball and was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
During the WCWS, Ricketts went 4-0 in the circle with 39 strikeouts in 31 innings while hitting .412 to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. She hit two home runs and drove in six runs at the plate, including all four RBI in the Championship Series finale over Tennessee.
The winningest pitcher in OU history, Ricketts was the 2013 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and was recognized on the All-Big 12 First Team and Defensive Team. She was a NFCA All-America first team selection and was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on five occasions.
The dual threat started all 61 of the Sooners’ games, 40 at pitcher and 21 as the designated player. Ricketts ranked second in the country in shutouts (16), third in wins (35), fifth in hits allowed per game (3.61), sixth in strikeouts (350) and eighth in ERA (1.23) and strikeouts per seven innings (10.3).
Ricketts graduated in four years with a degree in communication. She was a four-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and Sooner Scholar honoree. The San Jose, Calif., native assisted the Sooner softball team’s efforts with tornado disaster relief efforts in the midst of OU’s postseason drive in 2013. She took a special interest in a local youth team who had lost a teammate in the deadly storms - a young pitcher who had looked up to Ricketts.
Oklahoma has had five student-athletes recognized as the Big 12 Athlete of the Year since its inception in the 1996-97 season. Along with Ricketts and Dales winning Female Athlete of the Year, former OU quarterbacks Sam Bradford (2008-09), Jason White (2003-04) and Josh Heupel (2000-01) have all been named Men’s Athlete of the Year.