DePaul Softball Gets Ready for Super Regional

NORMAN, Okla. - The Norman Super Regional will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. between third-seeded Oklahoma and 14th-seeded DePaul at the OU Softball Complex. Both teams were at the field Friday for official practice day as well as press conferences.

The best-of-three series will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday followed by a 12 p.m. meeting on Sunday. An if necessary game is slated for approximately 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The entire Super Regional will be broadcast by network cable station ESPN with Pam Ward on the play-by-play and Karen Johns providing the color.

Live stats will be solely provided by www.ncaasports.com.

Quotes from Friday's press conference are below:

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DePaul Head Coach Eugene Lenti

Opening Statement:

We are happy to be here, it's great to be back in Oklahoma. We are looking forward to this weekend; we know it's going to be great games all the way around. It's two great teams, two of the best teams left in the country. We are really looking forward to competing in a packed house. That always excites the players and the coaches. We are ready to have some fun.

On having to adjust to playing in front of a large crowd:

"I don't think so really. Because when you're playing you're really focused on what's going on the field, so you're focus is really narrow. You don't really pay much attention to what's going on in the stands. And we have been to Oklahoma City for the World Series before and those are pretty good crowds."

"I think they (DePaul) are pretty well focused, pretty tuned in to what they have to do this weekend. I am looking forward to the crowd more than anything else, and I think our team is really going to embrace it."

"The people that will have it the toughest this week will be the umpires, the ones the crowd seems to always like the least."

On the intimidation factor of coming to Oklahoma:

"We have that in our stadium too. Not a big deal at all, not an issue. We play a national schedule every year. We have played national champions, we have defeated national champions. That's how you get to this level. You have to play the best if you want to be the best. We think we are one of the best, so it will be a great weekend of softball all the way around."

On preparing for Oklahoma:

"I think the fact that we played Missouri last weekend really helps us prepare for Oklahoma, because Missouri had good speed and good power too. It was a good training session for us more or less. And the fact that we were able to shut Missouri down twice bodes well for our pitching staff. This weekend really comes down to who plays well this weekend. That was last weekend, there isn't really much you can say about that. We defended great last weekend, had timely hitting and pitched great and we will have to do that again this weekend. The same is true for both teams."

On DePaul's improvement since the last time the team's met:

"I think we are a more consistent team offensively than we were towards the beginning of the year. The maturation of Becca (Heteniak) as a freshman. She is better now in May than she was in March. Traci has been solid all year long. We have some other freshman that have gotten better throughout the course of the season."

On the quality of teams playing the game now compared to the past:

"Definitely more quality teams out there. More parity. I think you saw this year there was not a dominant team. Here you have a Super Regional going on this weekend without UCLA in it. Who would have thought that 15 years ago? There is a great plethora of coaches out there that know how to coach the game."

Senior Pitcher Tracie Adix

On playing Oklahoma this year:

"It's always nice when you have seen a team before. You feel somewhat prepared, knowing somewhat of what they do. Won't really be too surprised I guess."

Sophomore Outfielder Amber Patton

On the two teams playing each other already:

"Nice to always know what a team has, their strengths and their weaknesses. I think that playing them earlier this season gives us an idea of what to expect. Although it is later in the season and you never really know what can happen. Teams improve, there are injuries, etc. We are just really happy to be here as a team and are ready to see what we can do. Just very excited to start playing."

Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso

Opening statement:

"This team is extremely prepared emotionally and physically. The hardest thing is waiting to play. We have had good practices, good energy and are ready for this weekend."

On changes throughout the year:

"Quite a bit. A lot of things have happened to us, mostly good some bad. We learned we can handle just about any adversity. The team is really locked in together. I think we are much more mature, more experienced and know how to come through anything. These guys can handle anything thrown before them. We have learned that throughout this time from March through May. That we are a team that can come back at you and nothing we can't handle."

On DePaul:

"They have an outstanding pitching staff. We have been working hard to prepare ourselves for them. Good offense, experience. There are a lot of seniors on their team so I'm sure they have good leadership. They have a coach who is aggressive and very experienced with postseason play. They have a good tradition in the postseason; they are a team that has been to the college world series. We have our hands full. These are two programs that want to get back to the College World Series. I definitely expect a dogfight."

On playing on ESPN:

"I'll tell you honestly that they absolutely love playing on TV and are so good when they are on it. When I heard that we were getting a television Super Regional, I was very excited because they always elevate their game when they have that opportunity."

Junior Pitcher Lauren Eckermann

On the pressure of a Super Regional

"I wouldn't say I feel extra pressure. There is a lot at stake, but it's one of those things that you go out and have to play the game, that doesn't change. The environment changes but the game stays the same."

Senior Third Baseman Norrelle Dickson

On the makeup of this team:

"I think this team has a lot more togetherness. Accountability has been a big difference between this year and last year. We trust each other this year a lot more. Plus it's fun when you're winning.

Senior Outfielder Jamie Fox

On playing in Norman:

"We are really excited to be back here. This town, this state, has the best fans around from anywhere I've seen. We are excited to pack this place with a lot of people. A lot of people would think we would be nervous but we are excited to get our fans involved. The signs that we see up, to hear people yelling and the same voices that we heard throughout the year, I'm pumped personally and I know that team feels the same way."

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