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June 2, 2022

Patty Gasso

Tiare Jennings

Jana Johns

Rylie Boone

Hope Trautwein

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Oklahoma Sooners

Postgame Press Conference

Oklahoma 13, Northwestern 2

THE MODERATOR: This is a Game 2 press conference featuring the Oklahoma Sooners. They're joined by head coach Patty Gasso and student-athletes Riley Boone, Tiare Jennings, Jana Johns, and Hope Trautwein.

Q. Patty, I just wanted to ask -- student-athletes first? For Tiare, then, and Riley as well, I guess after you guys got down 1-0, you kind of came with an onslaught, the six-run inning and then the seven-run inning. What is it about your team that allows you to just keep having these big innings like that, just explode on these teams like you are?

RYLIE BOONE: I think we just think pass the bat and trust that our teammates -- everyone is going to get the job done, so mainly just passing the bat and trusting each other.

TIARE JENNINGS: I think just trusting our preparation. You know, we've been working really hard on it. So just sticking to our game plan, grab the momentum, and just take it from there.

Q. For Riley, Jana, and Tiare: Specifically, what kind of adjustments did you make after those first couple of innings? Danielle Williams seemed to use that change-up a lot. Worked the inside corner of the plate quite a bit. What was the change there that allowed you to turn things around?

TIARE JENNINGS: I think just adjusting our timing. You saw we were a little out in front earlier in the game. We had to adjust to her change-up because she had a really good change-up. So just later in the game switching up our timing a little bit.

JANA JOHNS: I would say really just focusing on hitting the ball, letting it get deep and just hitting it to right field because we were early all game, and I think letting the atmosphere get to you kind of, you just have to breathe and stick to the process.

RYLIE BOONE: Same. What they said. I think the main thing that Tiare said, like dialing it down one pitch at a time and not rushing ourselves.

Q. Tiare, just I'm going to dig a little deeper on your grand slam. I don't know -- you guys weren't getting good swings against that change-up. I don't know if she threw two consecutive fast balls, and so were you sitting on the pitch? Were you sitting change-up, adjusting to fast ball by that point?

TIARE JENNINGS: I wasn't sitting change-up. I kind of just stuck to my timing like I did, and I kind of had a feeling that it was going to come first pitch, so I saw the ball up in the zone and just went from there.

Q. This is for Hope and Jana. I want to ask both of you guys, just the crowd went nuts when Jordy came in. I just want to know, Hope, what was it like passing the ball and seeing her work her way back into the circle, and then Jana, same thing. It was really neat how the players got together when she was warming up. You have "Enter Sandman" playing. What was that like for you guys?

HOPE TRAUTWEIN: It's huge. And Jordy works her butt off, and this setback is not really a setback for her. And for her to come into this game and close it out, it was huge four our team and for the big first win.

JANA JOHNS: I'm so proud of Jordy for working really hard and getting back. And I knew she was going to trust her abilities and let her defense work, and that's exactly what she did.

Q. Hope, great job today. You looked like you were throwing hard. You know, talk about your performance today. How well did you feel like it went for you?

HOPE TRAUTWEIN: This is the biggest stage that anyone will ever play on, so I really stuck to my process. Deep breaths. Slowing my heart rate down. Really focus on the game. Lynnsie Elam had told me some advice before I came in. Look at the crowd once, and don't look at them again. That's what I did. (Laughing).

Q. I have two completely different questions. Hope and Riley, I hope you'll forgive me. Hope, you obviously transferred for this moment, this time of year. What was that like today to finally find yourself in that moment? And Riley, I'm wondering, to get that third inning started, getting to this point has not been easy as you have come through injuries and those sorts of things. Are those things even anywhere in your mind at all as you think about today?

HOPE TRAUTWEIN: This is what I came here for, and to have all the hard work, I know my teammates work day in, day out. And Coach and Coach Rocha prepare us really well for this moment. And so just being here is like fulfilling a dream.

RYLIE BOONE: Could you repeat your question? Sorry.

PATTY GASSO: I told her, remember what she just said.

Q. Just to get that rally started in the third, you have come through a lot to get back in the line-up, become a regular part of this team. Did you feel -- was it -- was that anywhere in your head today just, man, I'm here, this is great, I'm playing great?

RYLIE BOONE: I think the biggest thing was just being present mainly, and I wasn't thinking about my injuries and stuff like that, but just being there in any way for my team, and not focusing on anything on the outside, but staying clear on the path.

Q. Riley, when you got that double and you're slapping your hands on the dirt, what's going through your mind just as far as just it's still 1-0, and you are still one down, but you get that lead-off. What's going through your head at that moment?

RYLIE BOONE: I hurt my hand, but firing up my teammates. I yelled "I got you" to my teammates, so I think just trying to get something started.

Q. Patty, great performance for you guys. When you are down 1-0, I'm curious what you're thinking because that change-up was working pretty well. What's going through your mind as you are watching your team try to adjust to that and battle back through that?

PATTY GASSO: We just keep talking. We just have to keep telling them what the plan is because it's one thing to work on it at practice and then another thing to be standing on the biggest stage and seeing it in person.

Just it was more about just trust what we're talking about. It's hard to sit, sit, sit, wait. You know? They're not used to that. They like to go free, and they like to go fast.

Really proud of them. They did a really good job, and Riley Boone was really the catalyst of all of this. It just kind of bled into everybody else. Everybody else knew, okay, I have got to change. I must change. You started to see what that looked like.

Q. (Off mic)?

PATTY GASSO: It is, yeah. Very proud. Yep.

Q. Last year you took the scenic route. How important is it to come out --

PATTY GASSO: Is that what that is? Scenic route?

Q. To get that response, come out Game 1 and set yourselves up for the rest --

PATTY GASSO: We want to take the private jet straight to our destination.

It's big, first game. Anybody will tell you the first game is really the biggest because it sets you up for now, which is glorious -- thank you all the women back there that made that happen -- that we get a day off, and we get to refuel and rest and recoup.

One thing that's really hard about this is if you lose, you have got to go back and get your scouts and everything ready to turn around, to play another game the next day. It's difficult.

Now more than ever it just really makes such a big difference. It can really help recovery and rest and so forth, but it also puts you on the right path so that you are not like, okay, we know we're playing tomorrow and playing the next day and playing the next day.

It's the way you want to start. This is what it looks like.

Q. Very quickly, two questions, but the first one is yes/no. Are you guys in a position to see replays before you choose to challenge or not challenge?


Q. Cool. And, also, about those adjustments at the plate, it's sort of the same question. Were they as pronounced as you have got to walk and they're looking for the change-up and catch up to something else?

PATTY GASSO: It's more about certain speeds. Be thinking this speed. More of that because she can mix her speeds and her change-ups as well.

Q. Patty, I want to ask you, is there a benefit and not a benefit in playing a team you're really familiar with at this point of the season? Of course, they know you like you know them, but what is your thought process going into playing Texas on Saturday?

PATTY GASSO: I think it's a benefit. We know what we're dealing with. We know what to work on. We've seen it three times. Yeah. I definitely think it's a benefit.

There's no surprises here.

Q. Patty, just I know you weren't able to see it, but there were fans lining up to watch Jordy in the dugout during a World Series game. Or, sorry, in the bullpen. Do you consider the gravitational pull that some of your players have, just the -- I know it kind of goes back to just the increasingly popularity of the sport, but just when you look at this kind of new aspect of, I guess, maybe roster management, just the impact that Jordy has on the game, but the impact that your players -- what's it like for you as a coach to kind of see that kind of excitement around your players?

PATTY GASSO: Yeah, just standing out there today, it is 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon, and this place is packed, and both crowds are -- that alone is just -- I will admit, I'm the oldest -- I think I'm the oldest coach here. I'm the oldest coach here. So I have seen it. I have seen it for a long time. I've seen it for 28 years, and to see where we are now it just chokes you up because you are, like, Whoa, no way, wow. This is unreal. And the cameras and the zipline and the everything, there's people everywhere, it's unreal.

Jordy, I'll say it until -- she's made differently. People see that. You see that. That's why you like this. You like the way she moves around the mound, the way she does. You like when she hangs her arm out that way. You like her enthusiasm. You like the way she rips her mask off when she gets what she wants. She's very athletic, and she is extremely focused.

To see her doing what she's doing today is the biggest victory that we've had thus far this season. I'm done.

Q. Patty, I wanted to ask you more about the process of the adjustments there from the time that your half of the second inning ends until Riley steps to the plate. What was that like? What were the discussions like and how did it go about playing out?

PATTY GASSO: It went from talking to stern conversation. And Jocelyn Alo jumped in. And that gets very stern and gets to place where I need to walk away because I don't want to -- we have a pretty straight-laced program, but when Joce jumps in, she'll say it the way she means it.

I just step out so she can be herself. The response was through the roof.

Q. Patty, I think if people just casually look at a box score of this game, they might not see it, but the top of the third inning, Hope is battling, chameleoned a little bit, and she fights through to get that fly-out to left, and then you guys explode. How big was that moment for her, and what did you think of her overall performance today on this stage?

PATTY GASSO: It was big for her. I was concerned a little bit because this is her first opportunity. When you are at another program, you are like dreaming, I'm dreaming of this, I've been dreaming my whole life, and then here you are, what is it going to look like? Those were the feelings that we were all -- what is this going to look like?

I thought she handled it like a champ. Not extremely pleased with the five walks, but we got ourselves out of a lot of that. To give up one hit against a team that can swing it is extremely impressive, so I thought she handled herself very, very well.

Q. You mentioned Riley being the catalyst. I asked her about sort of the struggles of a couple of years, and she might not be thinking about it, but how much does that resonate with you to see her do what she did today?

PATTY GASSO: I can't even tell you. You can't probably see it in me when I'm on the field, but I am just celebrating internally because this is a young lady that has waited for an opportunity and been in and out of the line-up for a long time, including last year.

So she's really started to solidify herself. Very good on defense. Struggled a bit the last two or three weeks. I think she said it very clearly: Like, I just had a clear path. I cleared everything away from what I'm thinking and what I'm feeling and just got focused in.

And she's worked really hard to get there, and to see her go off like that is just awesome. Tremendous. Tremendous.

Q. It's following up on his question --

PATTY GASSO: Where is he?

Q. On Zoom. You've got a steady pool of kids that grow up wanting to play for your program. What is it about Riley? Why is she the one who ended up at Oklahoma?

PATTY GASSO: The first time I saw Riley Boone, she was -- well, not the first time, but what really captured me was -- no disrespect to her high school, but she wasn't on a very good high school team, and she was pitching, and the team couldn't make plays sometimes, and she was just so like, "We got this, don't worry."

Everything about her just resonated. I must have her. She's not a pitcher, but she's pitching for her high school team, and she's coaching her high school team. And in that moment I'm like, I've got to fight hard to get this Riley Boone. I needed her. I wanted her for those kinds of heartfelt moments. Like team player and just -- that's what I felt today is it kind of takes me back to what I saw before.

She got on second and fired everybody up. That's one thing about her besides her play is just her style, her emotion, her passion, her work ethic, her personality. Her style is just so loyal to this program as well.

Q. Patty, was there a certain set of circumstances before you pulled the trigger on Jordy? Were you at all nervous?

PATTY GASSO: Not nervous. I was -- and she wasn't. Well, she probably was, but I felt like I really wanted her to feel this atmosphere. Especially going into Saturday because her stuff is moving, and it's working.

I wasn't nervous. I knew with two outs we wanted to do it. And I hope no one takes offense to that. I'm not trying to show off anything or anything like that. It's really thinking ahead and strategizing as to a young lady who has been dying to get on this mound and struggling through it. To give her that opportunity was gold, and our team responded to it.

I wasn't trying to make a big deal out of it. It was purely to say get a feel for what this feels like so you'll be ready if and when we go again.

Q. Is that why you're saying it's a victory?

PATTY GASSO: I think so. Did he call your name, James? (Laughing) I'm kidding.

Q. (Off mic)?

PATTY GASSO: Is it a victory she pitched or --

Q. You said at the end when asked about Jordy before, you said it was a great victory for you to get her back out.

PATTY GASSO: Absolutely. We need her, but these two pitchers have been crushing it. So adding Jordy to the mix and making you now train for three different pitchers instead of two is difficult for teams.

But it was a victory just seeing her being able to pitch because truly I didn't think she would be able to come back. She's done everything right, and she's done it 24 hours a day every day since it happened. To see this going on is a victory.

Thank you.

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