5-30-2012 WCWS Press Conference


May 31 – June 6

ASA Hall of Fame Stadium

Oklahoma City, Okla.



Wednesday Press Conference Quotes

(Session 2)


Opening comment:
“The University of California is very honored and privileged to be here. We would like to thank the NCAA and the city of Oklahoma City for hosting this. This is our 12th trip here. Every year it seems to get more exciting. They have done so much to the facility. It’s just a great opportunity for us to be able to play on this stage.”


On the fact that UCLA and Arizona are not here and if getting here is half the battle today:
“Parity is happening and it’s across the country. Any team in any part of the country can be here now. It makes this sport so much more exciting. I know even in our Pac 12 Conference this year anybody can beat anybody on any given day. You couldn’t take anybody lightly. You had to have your best pitching going that day, your best hitting, your best defense. It just really makes you have to be prepared for every game and be ready for it.”


On Valerie Arioto’s play this year and coming back from injury:

“She has had an outstanding year this year. She has led our team in every category. She’s been part of our important pitching staff. She has led our team in hitting, RBI’s, home runs; she has done it all. I know last year we thought ‘Why did this injury happen to her?’ But now we know why. It gives us the opportunity to have a much stronger team here at the World Series to represent our program. She has just done everything you could ask a player to do for your team. She has just done an outstanding job.”



On what she has seen of LSU’s pitchers and what she is expecting of them:

“I think LSU, all-around, is a great team. We got to play them before. Their pitching staff kept us off balance. They did a great job. I think our team is prepared, seeing them before. I think both teams are just going to go out there and play hard, so it should be a good series.”


On how hard it was to sit out last year with her injury:

“At the start of last year I was a little bummed, obviously. It was a bad experience for me. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine doing anything different. I got the chance to see the game from a different perspective and learn from it; just watch the games. But it has been a great year.”


Opening comment:
“We are very excited to be here, too. Congratulations to the other seven teams that are a part of this field. I think the teams that we came through to get to this point had great years, too. There are a lot of quality teams that are in the NCAA. We are excited to be back here. This is LSU’s first trip since 2004 and we are thrilled to be a part of the field.”


On what they did after the SEC tournament to turn things around and have a better postseason:

“I think for the first time our team really understands who they are as an offense. I think we struggled for a lot of the season trying to be something that we aren’t. We don’t have power numbers. It’s obvious on paper. I think we are capable of scoring runs. We finally understand who we are. We are able to do that by being more productive; having more productive at bats, manufacturing and not trying to look for the one swing or the one big hit.”


– MORE –



On what they did after the SEC tournament to turn things around and have a better postseason:

“Basically after the SEC tournament the coaches just talked to us and they said, ‘You know, from here on out everybody is even. It doesn’t matter what you did, it matters what you do from here on out. Everybody is going into the postseason 0-0.’ At practice we really focused on being selfless; moving the runners, not trying to do too much for yourself, but to do something for somebody else. I think we were obviously very successful at that we were able to move the runners and score the few runs we needed to score with such an amazing pitching staff that we have.”


On how they feel facing California again:

“We have seen Jolene (Henderson) before, so we know we are confident. We know what she throws. We have been working hard on it. We were able to manufacture runs off her. Obviously, the game didn’t end the way we wanted it to the first time around. Lucky for us we get another chance. Another chance doesn’t happen very often. Just playing that first game and manufacturing those runs that we can is really going to count tomorrow.”


Opening comment:

“Just following up in excitement and congratulations to everybody that’s here. We feel spoiled to be a team that’s 25 miles away from Hall of Fame Stadium. We’re looking forward to having great fan support for all teams. We’re just really pleased to be here and love the way we’re playing right now.”


On the parity of the sport:
“I told the team today that the hard part has already happened, now it’s time to go out there and have fun with what you’re doing. The hard part is getting here. Going through Arizona, UCLA and all the teams we had to go through.  All the teams here had to go through a tough road and it makes us better. We absolutely respect those teams, knowing what UCLA and Arizona have accomplished in the history of this field and here at the College World Series have been tremendous.  It’s an honor when you can go through a team like that to get here. I don’t want to see Arizona again in a super regional and I don’t think they want to see us again.  It’s part of the fight. It’s part of the battle. You have to go through someone extremely tough through the regional and super regional to be at the grand prize, and the eight teams here have found a way to do that.”


On OU’s WCWS team last year compared to this season:
“Experience is invaluable. I think that will really help us this time around. The mentality that we have, coming in and just being excited to be here or excited to actually try to win it all. I’m trusting every team here is excited to win it all, not just to be here. The Sooners, last year, were still living on adrenaline from Tucson. We came here in the World Series and we weren’t quite put together to handle that. The experience helped us tremendously throughout this season and going into this next weekend.”



On OU’s team last year compared to this season:
“I think the difference is that last year, our biggest goal was to get to the World Series. We had a lot of struggles going into postseason. We didn’t have our main players playing in position. Everyone was out of position, we were just trying to get out on the field and play as hard as we could to get as far as we could get. This year, we’ve grown a lot. We’ve been having a great year and our team’s a lot deeper than last year. With the desire that we had last year and how deep we are this year with our lineup, I think that we are coming into the World Series stronger than we were.”


Opening comment:

“It’s an honor to represent your school in the national championship of your sport. I think this year, more than any other year, I’ve been coaching and coaching against the great coaches up here. It’s been a wide open field all year long.  It’s been a very exciting parity-type of season for NCAA Division I softball. I’m really looking forward to this week because I think you’re going to see some really good softball, from a really good number of teams. You’ve got a bunch of really great players that are not only national team players, but you’ve got some of the greatest college softball players in the history of one season of softball. It should be exciting.”

– MORE –

On OU’s Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults:
“They’re two people that you want to meet in your life. If my daughters grow up to be half the people that those two kids are, I’m pretty fortunate. We had some fun last year, growing together with the national team program. The big cat here (Keilani Ricketts), she can do a lot of good things. I equate Keilani to Babe Ruth. There aren’t many people that could be in the circle or be on the mound and throw the ball as well as Babe Ruth and Keilani did, and hit as well as they do also. But more than anything else, she’s probably one of the most humble people that I’ve ever met, and Jessica (Shults) is right along those type of lines.”


On facing two of his USA National Team players tomorrow:
“Tomorrow is going to be a competition, make no bones about it. Keilani might like me right now, but tomorrow she’s not going to like USF. But that’s right, and that’s the way it is. I wouldn’t expect anything different. She knows that, Coach Gasso knows that and our team knows that, too. When it’s all said and done, I guarantee you there will be shaking hands and hugs. We’re looking forward to the competition.”



On her relationship with her former teammates at LSU:
“I was trying to tell my teammates on USF earlier that when you’re at a program for four years, they became my sisters. You go through struggles, you play games, you condition, you do all that kind of stuff.  So, of course, you still love them. If we potentially go up against each other, they’re going be trying to compete and beat us and the same goes for USF. When it’s all said and done, I’m still going to be best friends with some of them and it is what it is. I’m so excited that they’re here and I am fortunate enough to be an alum of both schools.  I’m excited.”



– WCWS –

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