Published Sunday, January 13, 2013 AT 10:43 PM / Updated at 11:25 PM
Role change suits CU’s Tritz well
Steven Pivovar Omaha World-Herald

Carli Tritz did a lot of heavy lifting her first two seasons with the Creighton women’s basketball team.

It took its toll. She’s no longer that perpetual-motion performer that the Bluejays once depended on to score a ton of points in order for them to have a chance to win.

A chronically sore knee prevents Tritz from doing some of the magical things she used to do on the court. While she might be a step slower, she’s also a whole lot wiser.

These days, Tritz looks for teammates as much as she looks for her shot. She leads the 12-3 Bluejays with 62 assists, seven coming Sunday in Creighton’s 69-50 win over Indiana State.

“I credit Carli for being unselfish,” Creighton coach Jim Flanery said. “She understands that we don’t need her to score 15 to 18 a night. She can pick and choose a little.

“We’ve talked about how with certain lineups she needs to look to the basket more but with other lineups she can facilitate. She doesn’t have to attack all the time.”

Tritz scored five points against the Sycamores, dropping her scoring average to just under nine a game. That’s down from the 14.4 points she averaged as a sophomore, when she earned All-Missouri Valley first-team honors while leading the Bluejays to the NCAA tournament.

Tritz underwent surgery on her knee before the start of last season. She was slowed during preseason work this season by a stress fracture in her back as well as the knee problem.

The back has healed but Tritz still has to sit out of some practices to save wear and tear on her knee.

“She can’t practice every day so she can’t get to the point where she was at the end of last year,” Flanery said. “That’s OK because we have enough other weapons that we don’t need her to be that player every game.”

Tritz jokingly refers to herself as “one of the old, slow hags” in Creighton’s starting lineup. Her inability to do everything that she once could is frustrating, but she’s content to do what she can to keep the Bluejays moving forward.

“It’s not like I’m out there thinking that I’m not going to shoot it,” Tritz said. “If it’s there, I’ll take it but our people are moving so well off the ball that I have a lot of options whenever I get the ball.

“There’s a lot going on when I catch it — a lot more than the last couple of years. We’re doing a good job of spreading the floor.”

About Steven Pivovar

Steven Pivovar is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and primarily covers Creighton athletics and the College World Series. You can follow Steven on Twitter (@PivOWH) or email him at spivovar@owh.com.