WCWS 2024: Maya Brady’s quest to help UCLA win another national softball title

June 5, 2022; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States; UCLA Bruins center fielder Maya Brady (7) hits the ball to second baseman and is thrown out to first during the third inning of the NCAA Women’s College World Series game at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium. UCLA won 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

The highly anticipated 2024 Women’s College World Series is here and the stage is set at Devon Park in Oklahoma City for eight teams to compete for the national championship. The UCLA Bruins, a team with a rich history and making their 32nd appearance in the tournament, are expected to ignite WCWS play in the opener against Alabama on Thursday.

The Bruins have the most national championships of any program, with 12 league titles overall. The Bruins last won the championship in 2019. Redshirt senior shortstop Maya Brady is a standout on the UCLA roster and aims to lead the Bruins to another championship title.

Brady leads the charge for the Bruins entering the WCWS with a .431 batting average. His league-high 68 RBIs and 58 runs scored are testament to his prowess. Brady’s trophy cabinet is filled with accolades, including Softball America Freshman of the Year, Softball America All-American, USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year runner-up and Pac-12 Player of the Year.

2024 Women’s College World Series: Support, schedule and streaming information

Maya Brady’s Sports Family Tree

Maya Brady, a shining star, is not only an individual talent but part of a rich sporting legacy. Her mother, Maureen Brady, was a formidable college softball pitcher, and her uncle, the legendary Tom Brady, is a household name with seven Super Bowl championships.

Brady’s other uncle, Kevin Youkilis, is a three-time MLB All-Star and two-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox.

“The person I learned the most from was my mom because she played on that stage,” Brady said in a press conference before the WCWS opener. “My mother wrote me a letter before last year’s tournament and she encouraged me to embrace the moment and enjoy the stage with my sisters.”

History of UCLA Softball

According to the NCAA, the UCLA Bruins won their first national title in 1982 in the inaugural D1 Softball Championship by defeating Fresno State. Since then, the program has been led by three head coaches, each of whom has contributed at least two titles to the program. The Bruins hold the record for most national titles with 12 and Women’s College World Series appearances with 36.

The Bruins won national titles in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2019.

How Brady Compares to the Best Shortstop in UCLA History

According to the NCAA, the best shortstop in UCLA Bruins history is Natasha Watley.

Watley was an exceptional player, reaching first-team All-American status four times. She holds several records at UCLA, including most hits (395), runs scored (252), at-bats (878), triples (21) and stolen bases (158). These records were set during her remarkable seasons from 2000 to 2003. Watley also ranks second with a .450 batting average, placing her seventh in NCAA history. Additionally, she is in the NCAA Top 10 in hits (3rd), runs (tied for 6th) and steals (10th). Over his final three seasons, Watley consistently had over 100 hits each year and led the Bruins in hits and stolen bases throughout his four-year career.

Watley won the Honda Softball Award in 2003, a prestigious honor given to the nation’s best collegiate softball player. She went on to win the Honda-Broderick Cup, an esteemed recognition given to the nation’s top collegiate athlete in any sport.

Compared to Watley, Maya Brady leads the charge for the Bruins in their quest for another national championship as they head to the WCWS with a .386 batting average throughout her career. She has an impressive 246 points scored between 2020 and 2024 and has scored 68 points in 2024. Brady’s accolades include being named a Softball America Freshman, a Softball America All-American, a finalist in the American collegiate softball player of the year and finalist. Pac-12 Player of the Year.

How to watch WCWS: UCLA-Alabama

How to watch: Catch the Women College World Series with an ESPN+ subscription

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Maya Brady enters WCWS as UCLA’s latest star seeking national title

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