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June 3, 2012

Danielle Henderson

Jolene Henderson

Diane Ninemire

Jamia Reid



THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by California Head Coach Diane Ninemire, student‑athletes Danielle Henderson, Jolene Henderson, and Jamia Reid.
Coach, an opening comment.
COACH NINEMIRE:  I would just like to say that I'm very proud of the University of California softball program.  This was a tremendous season.  We broke our record for the most wins in a season, and it was a lot of heart and soul in those wins this year, and I know we're disappointed right now.  Alabama has a great team.  We congratulate them on their efforts.
We had a shot today to possibly win this game.  We had some opportunities, but we just weren't able to get some key hits in some key situations.  But Jolene threw a great game.
It was a total team effort today.  And we just want to wish Alabama the best.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  Without asking you to make a prediction, having played Alabama and Oklahoma the last couple of days, how do you see these two teams matching up?
COACH NINEMIRE:  Well, they're very similar.  They're both going to have very outstanding pitchers on the mound.  Great hitters.  Great speed.  Balanced power and speed.  So it should be a great series starting tomorrow.

Q.  Diane, Danielle, and Jamia, can you talk about what makes Traina effective?  She doesn't seem to be throwing harder than anybody else out there.  But after the two‑run homer, she doesn't really give up anything else all day.  What is it about her that makes her effective?
COACH NINEMIRE:  She has a good drop ball and a good change.  But she throws the ball hard, so you have to make good solid contact.
DANIELLE HENDERSON:  I think she was really effective with hitting her spots.  She was hitting her corners really good and staying on the knees good, and every now and then she'd throw you off with coming inside on you, and she had that changeup that would throw you off every now and then.  She's a good pitcher.  Nice speed.
JAMIA REID:  As a lefty, she definitely came in hard.  It's hard to get your hands out when she's throwing that hard.  I give her a lot of credit.  She's definitely a great pitcher.

Q.  Jolene, can you talk about facing that Alabama lineup and the difficulties that they presented every single time that they seemed to have control of it, they seemed to be able to come up with a big hit.  What were you seeing out there?
JOLENE HENDERSON:  I think they have a great lineup like 1 through 9, very solid.  They put the ball in play and made things happen.  And they took full advantage of any missed pitch or any, like, good strike.  They were a very good team.

Q.  Jamia, you made a couple of great plays out there defensively.  Could you just talk about the defense that you and the rest of your team were putting on out there?
JAMIA REID:  We definitely knew that they were pretty big hitters, so for the outfield, we stayed back so that if anything, it wouldn't fall behind us.  We could catch anything and stop the gaps.
But I knew if they did hit a line drive or something, I was going to have to run hard to come in and catch those.

Q.  Coach, can you talk about the first time, 26 years that a PAC‑12 team hasn't been in this championship series?  Do you see that more as parity or just maybe a down year in the conference?
COACH NINEMIRE:  No, I made that statement earlier when we came here, that there's more parity across the country.  And there's great teams across the country.  And it's good for softball.

Q.  Coach, you guys really had a rally going in the sixth inning.  In the span of about five minutes, you go from sky high hopes to, okay, we're in trouble.  Could you talk a little bit about that sequence?
COACH NINEMIRE:  Well, after Danielle hit the home run in the fourth inning and tied it 2‑2, we had some opportunities where we had runners in scoring position, but we had some miscues offensively, and then they got some key hits and came up with some big hits.
And we got down.  And then it became a big hole to dig out of.

Q.  Diane, could you also specifically address the pick‑off play and what a momentum changer that can be when you got a rally going?
COACH NINEMIRE:  I believe we had zero outs in that situation.  It was just a miscue.  Our players are wanting to get to the next base.  You're trying to make things happen.
You know you're down.  You need to score runs.  And it's just a mistake.  And it happens to the best.  And we'll learn from it, and we'll move on.

Q.  Danielle, it looked like you slipped a little bit trying to get back to the bag on that play.  Is that kind of what happened a little bit?
DANIELLE HENDERSON:  Yeah, I got my lead.  As I was trying to get back, I pushed and the dirt just fell for me.  I couldn't get back.  I scrambled, couldn't get on my feet.  Bad.

Q.  Danielle and Jamia, could you compare Ricketts to Alabama's pitcher?  How are they similar and how are they different?
DANIELLE HENDERSON:  Their similarity is they both throw hard.  They're both really good pitchers.  They hit their spots really nicely, corners inside and out.  The only difference, though, is that Keilani has a little bit more movement on her ball.
But I would say that Jackie Traina is a good pitcher as well and she hits her corners spot on.
JAMIA REID:  With Keilani, her ball has a lot of movement, even her changeups, that you saw, I kind of fell when I tried to hit it.
And with Traina, she gets you on the hands.  So that's what makes her so effective.  She jams you inside.  So you have to kind of get your hand out with her.
JOLENE HENDERSON:  I couldn't tell you a difference.  One is right‑handed and one is left‑handed.

Q.  All three of you, could you talk about coming into the tournament number one ranked team and not being able to‑‑ I guess, just how tough is it going to be to get past the season?
DANIELLE HENDERSON:  Well, coming in, number one, we knew that we had a point to prove, and we‑‑ I would say that we kind of carried that a little bit too harsh on ourselves.  We kind of put more pressure on ourselves than we had to.
But we knew that we could do it.  We just pushed ourselves to keep getting better every game.  And that loss, it just lit a fire under us, and we started coming back harder.  And I think we did a good job coming back.
JOLENE HENDERSON:  I think that my team came out really strong.  They have a lot of passion.  And we lost a game so we were still strong.  My team doesn't give up.  I couldn't be any more proud of the season ending.  I never played with a better team.
JAMIA REID:  Being number one, it means a lot but it means people are gunning for you.  We knew coming here it was going to be a tough World Series.  There's definitely a lot of different teams, different‑‑ you have Pac‑12, you have SEC, Big 12.  I mean, it wasn't going to be easy.  We knew that coming into this.

Q.  Coach, a year ago we were sitting in this room and you guys had been eliminated and you had everybody coming back.  It's a different story this year.  Can you talk a little bit about the seniors you'll be missing next season?
COACH NINEMIRE:  We're going to be losing five seniors, tremendous players, tremendous people.  Great leaders.
And they have really left their mark on this program.  They're one of the reasons why we had such a successful program.  They really led this younger group.  But we've got a great group returning, and we have some outstanding recruits coming in.
So like I told them, this year we got to Sunday.  Next year it's got to be Monday, and just gotta take baby steps, but this team will be back.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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