Can UCLA Softball win it all in the College World Series?

UCLA Softball has had a phenomenal season and they are avenging their early NCAA Tournament exit from last season's tournament.
UCLA / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Before we talk about UCLA Softball and their season, let's first explain the Women's College World Series to those who are unfamiliar with the format and history.

The Women's College World Series (WCWS) is the NCAA Division I college softball championship. It's to the Elite Eight of college basketball of women's college softball. Here's a quick rundown of the WCWS.

Teams and format of the WCWS

  • Eight teams qualify for the WCWS this year including UCLA.
  • It's a double-elimination tournament until the finals. This means a team loses twice and they're out.
  • The last two teams play a best-of-three series to determine the national champion.

Location and Timing of the WCWS

  • The WCWS has been held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma every year since 1990 (except for 1996).
  • This year's WCWS starts on May 30th and runs until June 6th or 7th, depending on how long the championship series takes.

Now, let's take a look at how UCLA Softball got to the WCWS.

Record: Their overall record this season is impressive, finishing with 42 wins and only 10 losses for a winning percentage of .808 and they finished with a 17-4 conference record. They won the Pac-12 regular season title and the Pac-12 tournament this year.

Highlights: They won key games against Power Five conference teams throughout the season. They defeated Maryland in the Stacy Winsberg Tournament, beat Florida State in the Shriners Children's Clearwater Invitational, defeated Michigan in the Judi Garman Classic, and beat Nebraska, Northwestern, Illinois, and Tennessee in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. They swept Utah, Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State in conference play. They ended up defeating Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game. They ended the regular season winning their last eight games before the beginning of the NCAA Tournament.

Top Players: Maya Brady, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Sharlize Palacios, the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team catcher, are the leaders for UCLA. Brady has a league-high 68 runs batted in and 58 runs scored, and he leads the team in batting average (.431). Palacios has hit 11 home runs in her last 18 games and leads the Pac-12 in both slugging percentage (.876) and home runs (20).

NCAA Tournament Results: They hosted the Regionals and defeated Grand Canyon, Virginia Tech, and Grand Canyon again. In the Super Regionals, they defeated Georgia twice to advance to the WCWS.

UCLA's path to a national championship.

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If UCLA defeats Alabama in a game they are favored to win, they will play on June 1st. If the Bruins get upset by the Crimson Tide, they will play the loser of the Duke/Oklahoma game on May 31st.

A Bruins victory over the Crimson Tide will have them more than likely face off against Oklahoma. If UCLA were to defeat Alabama and then lose to Oklahoma they would play the winner of Duke and Alabama in an elimination game.

The other side of the bracket has top seed Texas but they way UCLA is playing of late, a national championship is possible. They won it all in 2019, and it would be very difficult for Oklahoma to win the national championship for a fourth straight year so UCLA winning it all in 2024 is not impossible.

The Bruins are trying to win their thirteenth NCAA championship. Since the NCAA began sponsoring the sport fully in 1982, only UCLA has been the winner of an NCAA Championship in each of the past ten years.

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