Carli Tritz of the Creighton women’s basketball team has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year as voted on by league coaches, media and sports information directors and announced by the league on Thursday night in between opening round games of the State Farm MVC Tournament at The Family Arena. Tritz set a league record by earning MVC Newcomer of the Week honors nine times this season.
Tritz, who was named to the all-MVC honorable mention team and All-Freshman Team on Wednesday, becomes the first Bluejay player to be named MVC Freshman of the Year since Holly Sivesind in 1994.
The rookie from Sioux City, Iowa (Bishop Heelan), leads the Bluejays with 67 steals and 95 assists, ranking third and sixth in the MVC respectively in each category. She is averaging 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season, as she is the top-scoring newcomer in the league. Tritz also leads all Valley freshmen and newcomers in field-goal percentage (.472), steals (67) and assist-turnover ratio (1.1).
Tritz joined the starting lineup in Creighton’s 10th game of the year and has remained a starter since. She has scored in double figures 19 times this season, the most by a Bluejay freshman since Laura Spanheimer scored 10 or more points in a game 21 times as a rookie in 2001-02. She scored a season-high 21 points against Nebraska (Dec. 8) and made the late game-winning free throws against now nationally-ranked Marquette (Nov. 28) and Wichita State (Jan. 29).
Tritz smashed the former league record of six Newcomer of the Week honors set by teammate Kelsey Woodard (2007-08), winning the honor nine times this year. The rest of the MVC totalled eight MVC Newcomer of the Week honors this season. On the women’s side, the MVC does not allow true freshmen to be eligible for Newcomer of the Year accolades, as that honor went to Tia Mays of Missouri State.
The guard is just the third Bluejay to win MVC Freshman of the Year honors, joining Sivesind and CU Hall of Famer Becky Flynn (1994). Hall of Famer Shannon Struby was named the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 1991.
Tritz and her Bluejay teammates open play at the MVC Tournament on Friday afternoon with a quarterfinal game against Wichita State at 2:35 p.m.