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June 12, 2012

Tide not unanimous No .1

TUSCALOOSA | The national champion University of Alabama received affirmation of its final No. 1 status in both softball polls, but it wasn't unanimous.

The Crimson Tide received all 20 first-place votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, but two of the 30 coaches voting in the USA Today/NFCA poll voted World Series runner-up Oklahoma No. 1 in the year-end poll, which was released Tuesday.

Alabama took two of three games from Oklahoma in the Women's College World Series championship series last week in Oklahoma City.

"We have 30 voters in our poll, one from each conference, who are able to vote for anyone they choose," said Parker Griffin, director of media relations for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. "We do not know why they chose to vote for Oklahoma instead of Alabama as the No. 1 team in the final poll."

The NFCA does not make ballots public, so the identity of the two coaches who voted Oklahoma above Alabama remain unknown. Neither Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso nor Alabama coach Patrick Murphy has a vote in the poll.

"I don't think too much about it," said Amanda Locke, a senior on Alabama's national championship team. "Oklahoma is a great team. They have Keilani (Ricketts), who is a great pitcher, and they have great hitting, all the things it takes.

"Everybody is going to have an opinion, but I think we came out and played our hearts out. That's why we brought it home."

Murphy could not be reached for comment.

A nonunanimous vote for the national champion in the final NFCA poll is not unprecedented. It has now happened five times - with UCLA receiving 17 of 20 first-place votes in 1995, 15 of 27 in 2003 and 25 of 25 in 2004, and Arizona receiving 24 of 30 possible votes in 2007.

Locke was one of four Alabama players selected to the 2012 Easton All-America team. She was joined on the first team by pitcher Jackie Traina and shortstop Kaila Hunt, who both just completed their sophomore seasons. Senior Jennifer Fenton, an outfielder, made the second team.

Reach Tommy Deas at tommy@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0224.


USA Today/NFCA Top 25
Rank-Team Record Totals Prev.
1 Alabama (28) 60-8 748 3
2 Oklahoma (2) 54-10 722 4
3 California 58-7 681 1
4 Arizona St. 53-11 666 2
5 Oregon 45-18 622 12
6 Tennessee 45-17 590 5
7 LSU 40-25 556 RV
8 USF 50-14 526 19
9 Texas 47-13 484 8
10 Georgia 45-17 464 11
11 Missouri 47-14 431 10
12 La.-Lafayette 53-6 409 7
13 Arizona 38-19 360 17
14 Washington 39-19 345 18
15 Michigan 42-17 324 21
16 Hofstra 42-15 300 NR
17 Louisville 55-5 282 9
18 Florida 48-11 258 6
19 Texas A&M 41-18 222 14
20 UCLA 36-20 173 15
21 Stanford 40-19 150 16
22 Hawai'i 44-9 129 13
23 Syracuse 43-16 77 25
24 North Carolina 43-15 58 22
25 Oregon St. 36-23 36 RV
(Parenthesis denotes first-place votes)
Others Receiving Votes: Notre Dame 22, Florida St. 17, Northwestern 16, Texas Tech 16, BYU 12, Kentucky 11, Baylor 9, Arkansas 8, Virginia Tech 6, Tulsa 4; five others received votes, but only appeared on one ballot.


ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25
Rank-Team Record Points Prev.
1. Alabama (20) 60-8 500 3
2. Oklahoma 54-10 480 4
3. California 58-7 459 1
4. Arizona State 53-11 441 2
5. Oregon 45-18 414 12
6. LSU 40-25 395 RV
7. Tennessee 52-14 389 5
8. South Florida 50-14 354 22
9. La.-Lafayette 53-6 303 10
10. Georgia 45-17 302 11
11. Missouri 47-14 297 9
12. Texas 47-13 294 8
13. Arizona 38-19 233 15
14. Washington 39-19 223 18
15. Michigan 42-17 216 19
16. Florida 48-13 196 6
17. Hofstra 42-15 187 NR
18. Louisville 55-5 171 7
19. Texas A&M 41-18 141 13
20. Stanford 40-19 89 17
21. UCLA 36-20 68 14
22. Florida State 47-16 52 20
23. Hawaii 44-9 47 16
24. Syracuse 43-16 46 RV
25. North Carolina 43-15 39 21
(Parenthesis denotes first-place votes)
Others receiving votes: Texas Tech (35); Oregon State (34); Baylor (16); Georgia Tech (13); Notre Dame (11); San Diego State (10); Virginia Tech (9); Arkansas (7); Northwestern (6); Tulsa (6); Kentucky (5); BYU (4); Texas State (4); South Alabama (4); UMASS (1)


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