NORMAN — Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso learned a long time ago that returning lots of experience doesn't automatically guarantee success.
Her Sooners won the 2000 national championship and returned all but one player the next season, but came up short in their title defense.
“In 2001, after we won the national championship, we had a lot of returners back,” Gasso said. “Nothing's automatic. Nothing is given. Right now, I would imagine we're one of the front-runners.”
The Sooners return 13 letter winners — including USA Softball Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts — from last season's squad, which finished as Women's College World Series runner up.
Ricketts, now a senior, was 37-9 in the circle — and recorded a .395 batting average and 17 home runs — last season.
“I feel like all of us had a taste of what it was like to be there,” said senior catcher Jessica Shults.
“It's a brand new team. Last year's team is done with. We kind of closed the book from last season and we're starting fresh.”