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May 12, 2014

Sooners head into postseason with questions

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Here's what we know: We know Oklahoma clinched its third straight Big 12 title outright with a win against Oklahoma State last Saturday and thumped the Pokes again on Sunday to complete the series sweep.

We know in Sunday's game senior Brittany Williams played one of the best games her career, hitting 4-for-4 and driving in six runs in OU's 11-3 five-inning run-rule of OSU.

"I was just taking my hacks today and trying to make adjustments from yesterday,​" Williams said.​

We know it was Williams' 3-run home run in the first inning that got the Sooners (45-10, 16-2) started. She helped give pitcher Kelsey Stevens a lead to work with in front of Marita Hynes Field record crowd of 1,728 on Senior Day.

We know Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso was proud of how her team performed in the final regular season weekend. She hoped the NCAA selection committee would take note of the Sooners' body of work this season and award them one of the top eight seeds in the tournament.

"I think, not just from the body of work, but also from the reputation of what we do in the postseason," Gasso said. "I think the defending national champion deserves a little love."

We know the Sooners were, indeed, awarded the No. 7 overall seed, which not only allows them to play at home for their first regional but allows for the possibly of them playing their potential Super Regional opponent at home, too.

We know Oklahoma will play host to Hofstra, Texas A&M and Bryant this weekend in the Norman Regional. OU's first game will be against Bryant at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Hynes Field.

We know OU faced Texas A&M in last year's Super Regional, and the NCAA bracket is such that if OU wins its Norman regional it could face Tennessee in a Super Regional in a rematch of last year's Women's College World Series' Championship Series.

We know earning a top eight seed in the last weekend of play is especially rewarding for the Sooners when you consider they accomplished that task with junior Lauren Chamberlain and sophomore Kady Self out of Sunday's lineup due to injury.

We know Self tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee last weekend and has been working diligently to rehab the knee in hopes of rejoining Oklahoma later this month if the Sooners make a run deep into the playoffs.

We know Chamberlain, the Sooners' talisman, suffered a knee injury during Saturday's contest in Stillwater. We know she has only played in 23 games this season and is hitting a career low .316 at the plate -- down from .458 a year ago -- and has hit just six home runs in 2014. We know that's far off the back-to-back 30-home run seasons she had as a freshman and sophomore.

We know up until this season Chamberlain had played in every game the Sooners played over the last two years and has a been one of the biggest reasons OU has reached the Championship Series of the WCWS for consecutive years.

We know the Sooners found a way to win without Chamberlain when a back injury kept her out of the lineup for several weeks. We also know there's no doubt Gasso would much rather have her star player in the lineup than not.

We know following Sunday's game Gasso was unsure whether she'd have Chamberlain in the batting order when postseason play begins this Friday. We know Chamberlain is expected to have a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) performed on her knee today.

"Again, it's just a very swollen knee, and we're just hopeful that it's not something that we hope is going to keep her out the rest of the way," Gasso said.

We know even without Chamberlain in the lineup on Sunday -- and for more than half the season -- the selection committee saw fit to award OU one of the top seeds in the tournament. We know the Sooners have shown they can win without her.

Whether or not they can make it through an NCAA regional without Chamberlain or Self remains to be seen. But it's what we don't know that keeps us watching the games.



NORMAN REGIONAL - TEAMS: No. 7 Oklahoma, Bryant, Hofstra, Texas A&M

FRIDAY, May 16

GM. 1 - Hofstra (33-13, 11-4 Colonioal) vs. Texas A&M (35-20, 9-15 SEC)- 5 p.m.

GM. 2 - No. 7 Oklahoma (45-10, 16-2 Big 12) vs. Bryant (32-20, 13-3 NEC) - 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, May 17

GM. 3 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - 1:00 p.m.

GM. 4 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 - 3:30 p.m.

GM. 5 - Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 - 6:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, May 18

GM. 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 - 1:00 p.m.

GM. 7 - Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary) - 3:30 p.m.


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