As Oregon continues at No. 1, our choice for player of the year is Tennessee shortstop Madison Shipman, who combined terrific defense and prolific offense to dominate in the nation's deepest conference.
Stanford freshman Bessie Noll took an unusual path to Division I softball. After years of playing little league baseball in Japan, she came to America seeking greater opportunity and the camaraderie that sprouts from playing with 18 other women.
Arizona's eight national championships can be a weighty burden, so coaches are telling the Wildcats, our No. 7 team, to focus on the present. Of course, top-notch pitching makes doing that a lot easier.