Oklahoma softball: Five Sooners finalists for USA Softball Player of Year


Five Oklahoma softball players are among the 26 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

The five Sooners -- 3B Alyssa Brito, C Kinzie Hansen, SS Tiare Jennings, CF Jayda Coleman and P Kelly Maxwell -- represent the most of any team.

Brito, in her third season with OU after transferring from Oregon, leads the Sooners with a .573 weighted on-base percentage and 60 hits and is second on the team with 16 home runs.

Hansen has the best batting average on the team entering the final weekend of the regular season at. 441. She has eight home runs along with 27 runs batted in and is one of the best if not the best catcher in the Big 12. She has thrown out five runners attempting to steal a base and has a 37.5 percent caught-stealing rate, one of the best in college softball.

Coleman, the 2023 Big 12 Player of the Year, is one of the toughest outs in the Big 12. She is batting .405 for the season and has 11 home runs and has scored a team-high 54 runs batted in. She has excellent plate discipline drawing a walk in 23 percent of her plate appearances and striking out just 2in just 2.3 percent of her at-bats.

Jennings is the only OU player to start all 49 games this season. She leads the team and the Big 12 with 18 home runs and leads the Sooners with 12 doubles and 55 runs batted in. Jennings is another tough out at the top of the Oklahoma lineup, striking out in just 5.1 percent of her plate appearances. She is also excellent in the field, committing just two errors in 285.0 innings at shortstop.

Maxwell transferred to Oklahoma after four superlative seasons at rival Oklahoma State. She owns an 18-1 record at OU with a 1.66 ERA, fifth best in the Big 12, and 106 strikeouts, which ranks third in the conference.

The finalists list will be cut down to the top 10 on May 15 and down to three on May 20. The 2024 Collegiate Softball Player of the Year will be revealed prior to the start of the Women's College World Series, which runs from May 7 to June 7 at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Two different Oklahoma have won this award in back-to-back years: pitcher Keilani Ricketts (2012-13) and outfielder/designated player Jocelyn Alo (2021-22).