Happy Wednesday, friends and fans!
Last night, Oklahoma Sooners softball star Jocelyn Alo was named the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. The OU slugger was honored with the award over fellow finalists Rachel Garcia out of UCLA and Gabbie Plain out of Washington.
Heading into the Women’s College World Series, Alo has been as dominant as any Sooner before her over the course of the 2021 season. Not only does she possess elite power at the plate, she’s as consistent as they come. The senior currently leads the nation with 30 home runs (tied for a program best), is ranked second with 82 RBI and fourth in batting average (.487). She’s also recorded at least one hit in 47 of Oklahoma’s 52 games.
Alo now joins pitching legend Keilani Ricketts (‘12, ‘13) as the only Sooners in program history to claim national player of the year honors. If you want to know what this recognition means to her, check out the moment when she and her teammates watched the official award announcement. Chills.
Simply put, Jocelyn Alo is a special player, and by the time she’s finished playing at Oklahoma, she could very well be known as the home run queen. For those who don’t know, she’s already on record in stating she plans to return next season for one more run with her teammates. With 84 homers in the books, she’ll likely surpass OU’s Lauren Chamberlain (95) for the all-time career lead when it’s all said and done, but first, she has some business to take care of in OKC this weekend.
Congratulations, and good luck in the WCWS!
Now onto today’s Hot Links! Another Sooner softballer earned some hardware, OU men’s golf is playing for a national title, Dame D.O.L.L.A. makes us H.O.L.L.A. and more!
- Also on Tuesday night, freshman infielder Tiare Jennings was named the NFCA/Schutt Sports Division I Freshman of the Year after an outstanding 2021 inaugural campaign. 52 games in, the San Pedro, California product leads the nation with 84 RBI, is tied for second nationally with 25 home runs and fifth in batting average (.485). Jennings joins Paige Parker (‘15) and the aforementioned Alo (‘18) as the only Sooners to claim this award.
- The OU men’s golf team is competing for a national championship against Pepperdine today in Scottsdale, Arizona. First tee time is set for 3:35 p.m. CT. TV coverage begins at 4 p.m. on the Golf Channel. Good luck, fellas. Boomer!
- OU gridiron legends Josh Heupel and Roy Williams are both once again on this year’s College Football Hall of Fame ballots. SI Sooners’ John Hoover has more.
- After being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, officials expect the Texas State Fair to be up and running once again this fall. The Dallas Morning News’ Sarah Blaskovich has more.
- Spencer Rattler is all about getting better in 2021. That’s a leader right there. Take what’s yours, Seven.
Around the Sports World
- Damian Lillard and his Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Denver Nuggets, 147-140 in double OT, but the six-time NBA All-Star put on a show for the history books after dropping a playoff record 12 three-pointers for a total of 55 points and 10 assists. The clutch gene coursing through Dame’s veins is very real, but unfortunately, the rest of his team couldn’t pick up the slack. The Nuggs now lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2.
- In other NBA news, long-time Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has retired from his position and will be replaced by Brad Stevens, who is transitioning from his head coaching role to the front office. Both will be involved in conducting a search for a new head coach this offseason.
- The Florida Gators have extended Dan Mullen’s contract through 2026 and have also rewarded the head coach with a $1.5 million raise.
- St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty is expected to miss an indefinite period of time after suffering a ‘significant’ oblique strain injury.
- Former Wisconsin Badgers Deputy Athletic Director Chris McIntosh will reportedly be promoted as UW’s AD to replace Barry Alvarez after 18 years in the role.
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