Who are the eight teams competing at this year's Women's College World Series?

May 30, 2024
Today’s newsletter has everything you need to know before the first pitch is thrown. Nothing soft about it.
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Who are the eight teams competing at this year's Women's College World Series?
Source: NCAA Softball/X

🥎 The details

Ever since the WCWS debuted in 1982, the road to Oklahoma City (OKC) has never been easy — and this year’s no different. The national tournament began on May 17th with 64 teams, and 56 have been sent packing in the two weeks since.

That brings us to the greatest show on dirt. As in previous years, the eight teams are divided into two four-team, double-elimination brackets, and this year will be the third edition of the more reasonable nine-day format.

  • The double-elimination action runs today through June 3rd, giving way to the best-of-three championship series starting on June 5th. Let’s meet the contenders.

🏆 The favorites

Who are the eight teams competing at this year's Women's College World Series?
Source: Texas Softball/X

🤘 No. 1 Texas: The Longhorns have been making all kinds of history en route to their seventh program WCWS appearance. Led by standout sophomore catcher Reese Atwood, Texas swung to their first No. 1 ranking in 18 years back in March.

  • And they continued to hook ’em from there — they topped their Red River rivals, Oklahoma, twice in April, then overcame an early Super Regionals stumble to punch their WCWS ticket.
  • And it’s not just Atwood’s hot bat leading the charge. The Longhorns also have a lights-out righty pitching trio of Teagan Kavan, Mac Morgan, and Citlaly Gutierrez and the country’s best batting average. Stacked is an understatement.

💥 No. 2 Oklahoma: Speaking of stacked, though they saw their NCAA–record win streak come to an end in March and failed to earn the top seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018, it’s never wise to bet against the three-time defending champs.

  • The Sooners are once again bringing the boom, leading all NCAA squads in on-base percentage and averaging nearly two home runs per game.
  • Plus, Devon Park (formerly known as the Hall of Fame Complex) in OKC is less than 30 miles from the OU campus, giving this dynasty a massive home-field advantage. There’s no place like it, after all.

💪 The other contenders

Who are the eight teams competing at this year's Women's College World Series?
Source: Gators Softball/X

🦎 No. 4 Florida: One of the most well-known NCAA softball programs, the Gators are back on the big stage after missing the WCWS last season. NCAA career runs record holder and future Athletes Unlimited pro Skylar Wallace stirs the drink for this high-scoring squad that’s top-five in the nation in a whole host of batting categories. Chomp chomp.

🤠 No. 5 Oklahoma State: Giddy on up, because the Cowgirls take “swinging for the fences” to a whole new level. Among WCWS contenders, Oklahoma State trails only in-state rival Oklahoma in home runs this season, with five players blasting at least 10 long balls. Making their fifth straight appearance, they’ve become a WCWS mainstay.

🐻 No. 6 UCLA: The perennial powerhouse Bruins are back in a big way after losing in the regional round last season. Catcher Sharlize Palacios and shortstop Maya “the superior” Brady are the names to know — Palacios has seven home runs across UCLA’s eight postseason games, while Brady has a team-leading .431 batting average.

🌲 No. 8 Stanford: If you look up “dominant” in the dictionary, you’ll probably find a picture of hurler NiJaree Canady. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year boasts an unheard of 0.65 ERA and strikes out nearly 11 batters per game on average. Yes, the Cardinal struggle on offense, but they don’t need much when Canady’s in the circle.

👿 No. 10 Duke: Just seven years after launching their softball program, the Blue Devils are dancing into their first-ever WCWS appearance. And they did it by outdueling No. 7 Missouri across three games in the Super Regionals.

  • With outfielder Claire Davidson and her .439 batting average leading their free-swinging, high-scoring offense, don’t be surprised if there’s another chapter in Duke’s Cinderella story.

🌊 No. 14 Alabama: The always stout Crimson Tide are back in the WCWS for the second straight year and 15th time overall, but they didn’t exactly, ahem, roll to get there. Bama finished with a losing conference record for the first time ever, but they turned it on in postseason play, upsetting No. 3 Tennessee in the Super Regionals.

📺 How to tune in

Who are the eight teams competing at this year's Women's College World Series?
Source: ESPN PR/X

It all begins with today’s quadruple-header (!!!), leading off with No. 14 Alabama vs. No. 6 UCLA at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN. ESPN networks will be your go-to throughout the tourney, including two matchups on ABC this Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. If you stream it…