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June 6, 2022

Patty Gasso

Hope Trautwein

Tiare Jennings

Jocelyn Alo

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Oklahoma Sooners

Postgame Press Conference

Oklahoma 15, UCLA 0

THE MODERATOR: This is the Games 11 and 12 press conferences featuring the Oklahoma Sooners, joined by head coach Patty Gasso and student-athletes Jocelyn Alo, Tiare Jennings and Hope Trautwein. Start with questions for our student-athletes.

Q. Jocelyn, the camera saw you holding up the five there in the first inning after Tiare's home run. What gave you the confidence to do that at that point early in the game, and just what was the feeling like after that first one to that point?

JOCELYN ALO: Okay. Now I was wondering what Holly was talking about. I was just cheering for her. I wasn't holding up anything.

Q. It looked like you said five. This game is going to be five innings.


PATTY GASSO: It would be better if you said --

JOCELYN ALO: That's why I was, like, I don't know what Holly is talking about five.

Q. I don't know what it was, but it really looked like that. After y'all dropped that first game, just what was the feeling like and the confidence level like coming into that situation in the second?

JOCELYN ALO: Yeah. We were just in the locker room just kind of resetting, and I went into that game with all the confidence knowing we would walk out of it with the W. No one beats us -- no one beats the Sooners twice. I think we really just stuck to our game plan and kind of zoned in on what it was that we needed do.

Q. Hope, just going into the second game, obviously it's a winner take all, and being on this stage for the first time, what was going through your head going into this one?

HOPE TRAUTWEIN: Stick to my routine. That's something I've been working for a long time, pretty much the whole postseason now.

Also just treating it like another game. There's no reason to psych myself out or any of the girls out by treating it like it's a special game that we have to win. We don't have to do anything. He just have to play our game, and that's what we were doing.

Q. This is for Jocelyn and Tiare. What was Coach Gasso like between games? You've played a lot of games, Jocelyn, a lot of games with her. Tiare, this was your second year. What was her message to the team and her demeanor like?

JOCELYN ALO: Definitely just reassuring us. She's not going to yell at us before a game. I don't see the point in that.

She's just reassuring us and letting us know we're good. It's just about how we come out the next game, and it was all positive affirmations.

TIARE JENNINGS: Just calm and collected. Keeping us positive and just taking a breath. Taking a moment just to reset and go out there and just do what we know how to do.

Q. This is for Jocelyn and Tiare. In the first game you guys hit the ball, and you squared up some things, but everything was kind of left on the warning track. Certainly changed in the second game. So what did you learn from the first game that got you to the second game that you had so much better results?

TIARE JENNINGS: The first game we were on it. I mean, we saw both pitchers. We're seeing the ball really well. I think in the second we just really made our adjustments to low line drives, attack early in the count, get the pitch that you want, and just controlling the strike zone a lot more.

JOCELYN ALO: Just exactly what Tiare said. Just controlling the strike zone and just kind of not trying to be a big hero in those moments, like, especially when your backs are against the wall.

Just going out there and just continuing to play our game.

Q. Hey, Hope. I'm going to ask Patty about this in a second, but the plan to start Nicole and then have Jordy come in in the first game, I assume there was a plan sort of relayed to you guys if there's a second game you'll pitch. Can you talk me through what you guys talked about as a staff before the game, and then you gave your impressions of your performance. What about Jordy today?

HOPE TRAUTWEIN: As a staff we have each other's back, and we know that going into each and every game. When Nicole gets the start, we know we're behind her 100%, but it's also huge for Jordy to come in and perform as she did.

This wasn't a setback for Jordy. It's just -- it was just her being able to come back at the World Series as a freshman and perform the way she did. She's been impressing me all season, and she only has to go up from here.

Q. For Tiare and Jocelyn: Just take us through your confidence level, because from the very beginning you just jump on it from the start. It looked like you were just saying, there's no way we're going to lose this game. No way we're going to lose twice in a row.

JOCELYN ALO: Yeah, I think it all starts at the top with Jayda and just her really good at-bats, and just kind of bleeding into me and Tiare, and that bleeds into the rest of the team.

I think it's just us being confident, collectively, as a unit, and I'll put anyone up there, and I know that they're going to get the job done. Just a matter of us trusting ourselves.

TIARE JENNINGS: Also just passing the bat. I think in the first game we were focusing on that as well. In the second game, we really actually did it.

So I think just passing the bat, keeping the order along, and get on it as much as you, and then we'll try and score you in. But just passing the bat was our mentality.

Q. You mentioned the entire team's mentality going into the second game plan, but for you specifically, that first at-bat, what did you see? What were you looking for to deliver that big home run?

TIARE JENNINGS: I knew from the first game I looked at it as a reset. The game of softball doesn't know if you are 0-3 or 3-3. I just flushed it. I knew when Jayda and Joce got on, I knew I had to do whatever it took. Whether it was a home run, sac fly or anything. I knew it was my time to step in and help them score and, again, keep passing the bat along to Grace Lyons and keep the momentum going.

Q. For Tiare. You're from California. Obviously, you know a lot of the players who are playing against. What was it like to kind of share that moment after the game where you all huddled today?

TIARE JENNINGS: It's cool. Me and Maya Brady have played with each other for a whole long time. Especially with Jocelyn. We're all super close.

We all know that no matter the outcome, we're never going to change. You we're going to be sisters on and off the field. So to play them, obviously, we have a little rival going and some fun and all that, but after the game it's just like nothing. It was really a cool moment for us to share the field. It was really cool.

Q. This question is for all three student-athletes. Just tell me what Grace Lyons means to this team. We saw today her kind of do it on both sides of the ball with that home run in the first game, and then especially in that second game in the seventh inning where she took that grounder up the middle and was this close to turning a double play.

HOPE TRAUTWEIN: Grace Lyons, she has one of the purest hearts I've ever seen. She is who she is all of the time, and she's rare, and she's amazing to know and a blessing to this team and to all who can see her play.

She's important as a teammate and as a softball player, but she also knows where her talents come from and how she can use God to shine through her. It's very amazing.

TIARE JENNINGS: Grace Lyons is a good softball player, but she's just a way better person. I think just for her -- that connection with the middle infield, the plays that she makes, I'm just stunned every time because she's so amazing.

Just who she is as a teammate is even better for me. She always has my back when I need her. Always checks in with me. I can definitely say she's one of my sisters in Christ always and she definitely paved that path for me.

THE MODERATOR: Jocelyn, we'll let you wrap that one up since she's been your teammate the longest.

JOCELYN ALO: Awesome from the moment she stepped on campus, and I've never seen someone play so free before. She just goes out there and does what she does and not a care in the world just because she knows it's already written. Her love for Jesus is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Just won't come across another Grace Lyons as a person but as a player as well.

Q. Hope, would it be accurate that you are getting more comfortable and more confident and even stronger as this tournament has gone along? And if that is true, tell us about it.

HOPE TRAUTWEIN: I've definitely been getting more used to the environment. The environment is -- it's hard to play here whenever you have -- there's a lot of distractions going on, and I really have locked into my routine as I have thrown more innings. Being comfortable and knowing my team has my back, it's getting easier as the innings go on.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it. Congratulations. Questions for Coach Gasso, please.

Q. Patty, congratulations today. Congratulations. I wanted to ask you just about Jordy and bringing her in and the pitch -- were you watching pitch count, and how did you feel about her control? She started to get a roll during the middle part of that game.

PATTY GASSO: I didn't know what to expect, but I knew that it was time to give it a try because, otherwise, she's going to be sitting on the bench, and I'm going to keep wondering if and how and when. So we thought it might be a good opportunity, and it started to look real. Like, whoa. She threw harder. Adrenaline was going. I thought she had good control. I thought she did a really good job.

We pressed her a bit, and I thought she was starting to wear out just a bit, but when it was all said and done, she's feeling pretty good and not in a lot of pain. Definitely we'll be able to use her going forward.

Q. Patty, everybody is going to talk to you about the offense and things, but Grace's play at the end, you've talked about her a lot. I was glad that the nation got a chance to see that at the end. But that double-play combination and the things -- the magic now that she can do there, that's special for you, especially entering the final three games.

PATTY GASSO: I love defense. I love home runs. I love Joce. I love all that, but I love defense, and I do believe that defense wins championships in about every sport.

I feel like we've got one of the best infields in the country, but without question, in my mind, Grace Lyons is the best shortstop I've ever seen, and I get the pleasure of working with her on a daily basis, but she makes -- she's so good she makes everyone around her that good.

Tiare has had to elevate and has gotten a lot better, as Jana has as well. She brings this whole infield together, and she's quite an athlete.

Q. Patty, sort of along the lines of what I asked Jocelyn, what was the feeling like after that first one going into the second one, and how big was it to get that game started the way y'all did with the three-run homer?

PATTY GASSO: I think this team wanted to show Nicole May: We got you. I also think they know -- they are very prideful, and they truly do believe that no one can beat them back-to-back or twice, period.

That's the way they think. So they came out very calm, very cool, very -- when we knew who was pitching, they were kind of excited. Like, okay, we know -- we've seen it. We're ready. They just felt very confident.

I think Hope felt very confident. She's been throwing really, really well. It was just kind of I'm going to get your back, nobody beats us twice.

Sometimes having a new umpire has something to do with the way the game changes. It was just a lot -- like a start-over. Let's start over. Let that go.

It's also knowing this is it. Our season could be over. And we didn't even say that, but I think that drove them because they don't want to end. They would not do well ending with a loss here today.

Q. Just to kind of add on to that, obviously after that tough first game, you guys got the quick start you did. Is there an emphasis to kind of really jump out to a quick start like that, or is there just a trust in knowing that your team is going to be ready and be able to bounce back and just the difference between those two games like that?

PATTY GASSO: I think it's just the trust in our -- we always talk about trusting our training. We work hard. We have worked hard all year long, and we pride ourselves on that.

Another reason -- she didn't -- Jayda Coleman walked three times. I think she came around and scored every time. Jayda Coleman is the party starter, and she would be very happy with that title.

She gets everybody excited. She's fired up. She brings in the crowd. Without her really driving the ball through a gap, a walk for her just gives the bat to Joce.

There's a different kind of adrenaline when she's on in the lead-off spot, and we've kept her there for that reason, but everybody kind of falls in once they see Jayda on base. She gets everybody fired up.

That is a big part of this too is just her starting the party so to speak.

Q. How do you get -- two unrelated questions. First, do Tiare and Grace practice that little flip that wasn't for the put-out at first?

PATTY GASSO: No, no. This was just kind of their creative canvas on the field where they create these things, and I'm just looking down. I thought, okay. Then I heard Syd next to me go, Oh, my gosh. I'm, like, What? Then I have to go back and watch it on replay. I didn't even see what they did.

Q. It was pretty cool.

PATTY GASSO: I'll go back and watch it.

Q. I know you didn't want to play two games today, but the fact that you got to see what Hope could do in an elimination game and what you mentioned about Jordy before, do you feel like you gained some knowledge that could be pretty important moving forward?

PATTY GASSO: 100%. As strange as this might sound, the second game was a blessing for us because of that. To see Hope in that environment, to see Jordy and what she can do for us, and to see our team bow up and step up and say we're not going home, that was important.

Especially against a team like UCLA. They are so -- they are very dangerous. They're so good, well-coached. Those pitchers are very good, and they're tough. They're tough to beat. Their hitters are tough to beat.

It seems like we always face each other in these situations. And any time we play UCLA, we've got to be at our best. And they always make us better. It was kind of the fact that playing against them has to really bring out your best.

Q. I know that Jocelyn -- with Ryan's question about her saying like five innings, the game is going to end in five innings, I'm curious, though, how vocal is she throughout, over the course -- I know you mentioned you kind of give her her space to lead the team. How often is that her in the dugout?

PATTY GASSO: She is constant. She is near me, so I hear her. She's constant. She could be sitting on the bench. She could be sipping on a smoothie or whatever she wants to do in there, and she's not. Her face is right up against the screen. She is fired up and constantly talking.

If she did put those five -- tell me what's going on, because she wouldn't do --

Q. It looked like she mouthed 'five innings.'

PATTY GASSO: She did. Okay. She's going to be in trouble. Well, I know she was doing this to the crowd, but I didn't see that. Yeah, no.

Q. (Off microphone.)

PATTY GASSO: She's lying? Is that what you're saying?


Q. Would you like to see the video?

PATTY GASSO: No. We'll talk. We'll have a talk.

Q. Another one on Jocelyn. We've seen a lot of great performances from her over the years, but this could have been her last collegiate game. Did you see anything different just in her presence or in anything coming into that?

PATTY GASSO: No. Just she gets so fired up for her family, for our team. She's the most confident young lady I've ever met in my life, to the point where you are, like, okay, don't say that, Joce. But that's her. She wears it. Maybe she did do that for that reason, because it's not to kind of stick it in anybody's face, it's more about her excitement. She's just really raw with excitement and love for the game, and her exuberance just is fun to watch.

I have said this to Holly Rowe. I think Jocelyn Alo is a big reason why this sport has gone to another level. People come here to watch her like she's Babe Ruth. They pay to see Jocelyn Alo, and that I don't know that -- I hope we see another Jocelyn Alo. I hope she's a Sooner when we see her, but that's how she -- she has a love for the game, a confidence. And some people might look at it and go -- but it's awesome. If you are around it, it's just to see that and to be around it, it just bleeds all over our team. They all want a little piece of what Joce has.

It's been such an honor. She wants to go out her way and just leave her mark. She keeps saying, I want to leave my mark. She's left her mark. She's done it. Right now it's just icing on the cake for her.

Q. You guys have lost three games now this year, and the three games following that you have outscored your opponents 39-0. All of them have been run rules. Just what is it about your team not -- just to come back and win games, but to be so dominant, impose your will so much? It seems like your team almost takes losses personally.

PATTY GASSO: They do. I think it's like a second chance, like, we did that wrong, let's do this right. They all buy in on it. I don't know. It's just they're very prideful and very hard-working. They want to represent OU. They want to represent our sport. They just want to let people enjoy the way they play the game.

Q. Kind of a non-softball question.

PATTY GASSO: Oh, whoa, whoa.

Q. I think you'll like it.

PATTY GASSO: Okay, good.

Q. It is very evident and it's so refreshing seeing how faithful your program is. What does that mean to you, and what does that look like for you guys on a daily basis, if you don't mind me asking that?

PATTY GASSO: Not at all. Now, that I will answer. I think they all kind of lean towards -- they've talked a lot about Grace Lyons, who has brought a lot of her faith into the program, and I've seen lives change. I've seen kids being baptized. I've seen their Bible study groups.

It is incredible, and it's not like we're trying to force anything on anyone. It's just how this team is and who they are.

Their faith, to go over to the other team and say would you want to join us around the circle, I just stand there and I want to -- I mean, UCLA and Oklahoma, California, Oklahoma joining together? Tremendous. You see it with every team. Whether we win or lose, they're not afraid to ask.

And when you see Longhorns and Sooners and Cowgirls and Sooners, you're just -- that's really saying this is bigger than just softball, and this is bringing them in, praying, thankful, and just understanding what this is about, which is much more than just softball.

I couldn't be more proud. I'm the luckiest coach in the world really.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your time. Congratulations.

PATTY GASSO: Thank you.

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