Press Conference Quotes

June 1, 2005


General comment:
When the softball committee came up with the Super Regional idea, I dont think they realized how competitive those two or three games would be. Those that are here really deserve and earned their way here. I know that we had a great battle with Texas A&M. Any of the 16 teams in the Super Regional could have reached the World Series. Were happy to be here and its a great field. I want to thank the committee and the ASA for making this tournament bigger and better every year.

On playing Texas:
I sat in Athens, Greece, watching Cat (Osterman) mow down the entire Japan team last summer at the Olympics like it was nothing. I thought to myself I really hope we never have to play her. Obviously, shes a great pitcher. Its a classic offensive versus defensive team battle. I think its a great matchup.


On facing Texas pitcher Cat Osterman:
I think were looking at it as were playing Texas, not Cat. Obviously, shes a great pitcher, but if we play defense they have to score runs. Were going to take it inning by inning and try to get people on base.


General comment:
First off, its wonderful to be back here. It was totally unexpected for us. We were picked to be fourth in our conference in the preseason polls. We were just trying to win the conference championship and I think were overstepping ourselves a little bit by making it to the Womens College World Series. Obviously, its been the kind of year where its been a long journey and the final destination has been a great one. Its unexpected for us because we returned two pitchers who had five collegiate wins between them as freshmen and now they have 45 as sophomores and that is not ever anything you can count on.

On being the only unseeded team in the WCWS:
We knew we had a solid core of kids returning with our senior class. They really came together at the right time. We had some really rough stretches of the year and somehow the week of the conference tournament we began to play really solid all the way around. We made history by beating two seeded teams to get to the College World Series. Were wearing the unseeded mantle very proudly and were happy to represent all the unseeded teams.


On what its like to play for Coach Lenti:
You can be yourself. Once something happens on the field, it stays on the field. We get off the field and its a whole different day. He can be mad at you and yell at you, but then youll be going to eat afterwards.


General comment:
Were excited to be in Oklahoma City because it is the only place you want to be this time of year. I have a great team and I believe they are very deserving to be here. Our team has been outstanding and consistent week after week and has made our university very proud. I agree that the extra week of Super Regionals is very intense and all the regions were very competitive, but it was also an added week of stress. We had a very tough and exciting regional in Ann Arbor. We are excited to get going and are looking forward to this week.

On being the tournament favorite:
We dont care about that. Its a great group of kids and I dont think they have to win to prove anything to me. Were the only ones that care about our team and we dont care about anybody else. I do believe this is a great process and a great experience for student-athletes. We certainly want to win it and weve played all year to win it. From day one, my kids believed they could win a national championship. Now they have the opportunity and they have to put their money where their mouth is. Nobody believes in them more than me.


On being the No. 1 pitcher on staff this year:
Its exciting because this summer I decided I needed to get better and I worked on it. Ive gone out there and thrown my pitches and have done what I need to do for the team. Going into the World Series, Im going to keep the same game plan and not going to change a thing.


General comment:
I would agree that across the board there is so much parity in the game, especially this year. Its good to be back. We were here two weeks ago and it seems like forever ago. The field crew has done a great job. The playing surface is phenomenal and were just excited to be back. Weve had some ups and downs this year. Its been challenging and weve dealt with some adversity, but I think weve got a great group of young women. Were looking forward to competing this week.

On her seniors:
We have seven seniors this year, its amazing. They were here two years ago and I think the experience they bring of being through it is valuable. Also, being in this facility a couple of weeks ago at the Big 12 Tournament is very helpful. I think they are a calming force and they will come together and tell stories about what they have been through. Theyve been talking about just enjoying the moment.


On being back at World Series:
In the first trip to the World Series, your emotions run high and you forget to keep it contained and controlled. During my sophomore year at the World Series, the first game didnt turn out like we expected. I think being on softballs biggest stage, the Olympics, has made me ready for the World Series. Now, I can also handle all those emotions and contain my energy. I think with those three things combined will prepare me for this and Im going to try and take that back to the team as well.


General comment:
Its great to be back. It has obviously been an interesting year for us. Our team has been a little up and down, but the last couple of weeks weve played quite well. Were very anxious to get started tomorrow. Every player and coach dreams of being here this time of the year. This is a very competitive field, and it should be an outstanding College World Series.

On playing teams outside of the Pac-10:
Its a little tougher because of the information you have on their players. With the teams we play a lot, you have more tendencies. When you dont play someone, and youre just looking at film, you have to develop a game plan very quickly. But on the other side, its kind of exciting. We get sick and tired of seeing California and UCLA in the Pac-10 as much as we see one another. I think our kids look forward to playing someone new and different, and we know Tennessee will be well prepared. I know theyll be excited with this being their first appearance, and theyll come to play. Were just going to spend this afternoon on trying to get prepared with the information we have.


On being in the WCWS after not making the field last year:
I dont feel any different. I feel like were back here, and this is where we belong. We just had a year off.


General comment:
Were very pleased and excited to be back here. This is our seventh consecutive trip, and this team has worked extremely hard. Weve had a lot of diversity throughout the year with a lot of injuries. The past three weeks have really been the first time our team has had the starting lineup out there on the field. Were very excited to have everyone healthy, and were ready to go.

On whether she views Michigan differently this year than in the past:
Our philosophy is that we respect all and fear none. I know Michigan is a great team, and every team here is a great team. Everyone has the same chance to win a national championship. I dont think you can overlook anybody in this field. Michigan has been well deserving of the No. 1 ranking, and I think everybody here is going to go out and try to do their best. So I dont think it changes anything.


On facing UCLA for the fourth time in the season:
We always seem to face them here. The last two years weve played them in the title game here. I think that we are really excited. It helps that we have seen them in conference, but at the same time theyve seen us. We know what they have and they know what we have. There wont be any surprises, we just have to play our game and theyll play their game.


General comment:
We are happy to be here and happy to be in the bracket of champions that we are in. You look at the 17 national championships represented in our bracket. These are great teams and great coaches. Im excited for our kids and looking forward to getting out there and playing. The field looks great. We hope that we can represent our university and have a great time.

On the SEC on a national level:
I think the top four leagues in the country all have four or five great teams. I know that Georgia played really well against UCLA. I agree with (Arizona head coach) Mike Candrea and (UCLA head coach) Sue Enquist the way softball is today each league has teams that can compete at the national level. (The SEC is) fortunate to have two teams here.


On facing teams from the Pac-10:
Mentally, we just have to play our game. Last week (versus Stanford) we were very cool, calm and collected. We have to find our zone, stick with it and pull together. We have to draw from each other and stick with what we know.


General comment:
We are always excited to be here. Each year it becomes more and more difficult to get here. I think thats a sign of the times. I think we are in a place where collegiate softball is so competitive and the fans are the benefactors of a great show. We are a younger group, but Im proud of the fact that they own resiliency and that gives us momentum going into the World Series. We are always honored to come back to this town. The people of Oklahoma have once again done a great job with their preparations and were privileged to be a part of it.

On the changing face of the game:
I think every part of the game has changed. The players are faster, stronger, bigger, taller and they have more experience on the national and international level. I think every facet of the game is still growing and that benefits the coaches and the fan base.


On going for a third straight championship:
It feels good. Anytime you are in the running to win, its a good feeling. We just have to take it one game at a time and hope for the best.

-- Courtesy Oklahoma