Also, Gasso was concerned about the Big 12 conference’s ability to get the Sooners ready for another postseason run. Texas A&M and Missouri, two terrific softball programs, may have been replaced by West Virginia and TCU, but neither the Mountaineers nor the Horned Frogs play softball.
That meant treating February a lot like most teams treat April, May and, if they’re really good, June.
“We talked in January about the importance of going into February and being very good and, normally, you don’t really talk about that,” Gasso said. “But we knew what our scheduling was going to look like and we knew it was very important to be close to as good as we could be, because that was a chance to get our RPI number (up) … get these big wins in our back pocket.”
All OU did was win its first 17 games, which just happened to be its most difficult stretch of the season. Among the victims were No. 14 Stanford, No. 3 Oregon, No. 19 Kentucky, No. 11 Washington, No. 17 Nebraska and Georgia, no longer in the poll, but No. 13 at the time.
It may sound odd, but Gasso wanted her team to peak early.
While most of the Sooner nation was concerning itself with basketball (and still complaining about a defense that couldn’t stop any well-quarterbacked offense, especially one led by Johnny Manziel), the small-diamond Sooners were running the table in Phoenix, San Diego and Palm Springs.
“We did that for our first four weeks and they were really, really good,” Gasso said. “We came back home pretty exhausted and you could see us struggling with a few teams along the way in mid-March.”
But soon enough, it was time go win another conference title and, after dropping single games to Nebraska and Louisville (No. 12 and No. 17) in Norman, the Sooners went 15-2 against their league, winning every series.