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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Odicci Alexander became an overnight sensation at the Women’s College World Series.
James Madison’s dynamic, endearingly humble pitcher was well known among die-hard softball fans, but she introduced herself to a national audience by throwing a complete game to help her unseeded squad stun tournament favorite Oklahoma in the opening game earlier this month. She threw another complete game the next day in a victory over Oklahoma State and a star was born.
As her team was being eliminated in the semifinals, Alexander drew a standing ovation when she left the field. Fans watching on TV and streaming devices were sorry to see her go — and so was ESPN, which has been broadcasting the WCWS since 2000.
Nick Dawson, ESPN’s vice president of programming for college sports, called her emergence and her battles with Oklahoma “the overarching story of the event,” and said she set the tone for a memorable week.
“It just so worked out that she, as a dominant pitcher, ended up paired against arguably the greatest offensive softball team in the history of the sport in the opening game of the Women’s College World Series,” Dawson said. “To me, a lot of that’s luck. It just falls in your lap. The win is that we’re positioned based on our commitment to the coverage of the event.”
Coverage of Division I women’s sports has been in a particularly bright spotlight in 2021 and the record-setting WCWS was just the latest example of growing interest — and growing