For leading the Oklahoma softball team to an unprecedented three straight Big 12 Conference championships, Sooners head coach Patty Gasso has earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors for the third year in a row, the league offices announced Tuesday.
Gasso and the Sooners became the first team to win three straight Big 12 titles as they went 45-10 overall this season and 16-2 in league play en route to earning the No. 7 national seed in the NCAA Division I Championships. The award is the seventh of Gasso’s career, while no other coach in Big 12 history has more than three.
In addition, six Sooners were named to an All-Big 12 team, including five that garnered All-Big 12 First Team recognition. Senior Brittany Williams, juniors Georgia Casey and Shelby Pendley and sophomores Kady Self and Kelsey Stevens were all named to the first team, while sophomore Whitney Ellis was an All-Big 12 Second Team honoree.
Casey is an All-Big 12 First Team selection for the second time in her career. She was also named to the team as a freshman in 2012, while last season she picked up second team honors. This season, Casey led the league with seven doubles and 42 total bases and tied for the lead with two triples during conference games. She also ranked top five in batting average (.407), hits (22), runs (18), RBI (18), on-base percentage (.500) and slugging (.778).
Pendley was put on the first team for the second time in her two years at OU as she finished second in the league in walks (12), fourth in runs (16), sixth in doubles (4) and RBI (16) and eighth in stolen bases (4). In addition, in the circle she threw a shutout against Texas Tech and also recorded a save.
Williams, Self and Stevens all received All-Big 12 accolades for the first time in their respective careers.
Williams ranked second in league play in home runs (5), RBI (18) and walks (12) and finished in the top 10 of batting average (.370), runs (15), total bases (33), OBP (.508) and slugging (.717).
Despite missing the final five games of the season because of a season-ending injury, Self still led the league in batting average (.553), on-base percentage (.630) and slugging (1.026). She was also top five in runs (16), homers (5), RBI (17) and total bases (39).
Stevens led the league in wins (14), strikeouts (91) and opponents’ batting average (.183) and also threw a league-high six shutouts.
Ellis was a force behind the plate for the Sooners as teams attempted only seven stole base attempts against her. She threw out four of the seven would-be basestealers for a league-best mark of .571 percentage.
Oklahoma also had five members on the second annual Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
For her work at second base, Casey took home honors for the second time in her career. First-time recipients of the award included Williams at first base, Pendley at third base, Stevens at pitcher and senior Destinee Martinez in the outfield.
All-Big 12 teams and postseason honors are selected in a vote by the league’s head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
The No. 7 seed, Oklahoma opens the postseason this Friday as its host the Norman Regional against Bryant at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN3.