Guide to OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma and UCLA, the two best teams all season, will play for an NCAA softball national title at the Women's College World Series. It's the first time in history that the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds will meet in the tournament's last act.
Two of the game's biggest stars, UCLA's Rachel Garcia and Oklahoma's Sydney Romero, will be looking to add another exclamation point to their teams' already spectacular seasons.
History plays into this as well. Top-seeded Oklahoma is looking to win its third title in four years. Second-seeded UCLA is hoping to reclaim a title it lost its grip on in 2010.
Game 1 of the best-of-three series is Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), and Game 2 is Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). If necessary, Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Here is our ultimate guide.
Head to head
UCLA and Oklahoma played each other in February at the Mary Nutter Classic. The Bruins got the better of OU in that matchup, beating the Sooners 7-1. Rachel Garcia absolutely dominated the OU lineup, striking out 15 batters while allowing four hits and walking two. Nicole Mendes went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Sydney Romero left four runners stranded. Still, it's important to note that Oklahoma ace Giselle Juarez did not pitch that game. Mariah Lopez got the start and the loss. It's tough to know how much can be learned from that game, which happened in the third week of the season. Is Garcia still in the Sooners' head? Or have things such as Oklahoma's 41-game winning streak made it a blip on the radar?
UCLA: The Bruins have the most championships of any team in Division I history (11), but they haven't won since 2010, which was the last time they made it to the championship series. The Bruins made it to the semifinals in 2018, only to be beaten twice by eventual champion Florida State. Many of the greatest names in the history of the game -- Dot Richardson, Debbie Doom, Lisa Fernandez, Stacey Nuveman, Natasha Watley -- have donned UCLA Blue. The history of the sport runs through Westwood.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma has won four national titles, including two in the past three years. With a win this year, Oklahoma would join Arizona and, of course, UCLA as the only programs to win three titles in four years. Oklahoma's first title came in 2000, and its second came in 2013, in large part due to Keilani Ricketts, who now serves as an Oklahoma volunteer assistant coach.