Rietz, who played two seasons for now retired coach John Wilcox, said she was thrilled when Wilcox asked her to stay with the program as an assistant. "I wasn't ready to be finished with basketball," she said.
One of her primary concerns as an assistant coach is to pass along one of the most important lessons she learned while playing for Wilcox.
"I credit John for helping me achieve a balance between basketball and the intense academics at Whitman," Rietz said. "I have no doubt that I went through what they call the Whitman Experience. My goal as an assistant coach is to help our players achieve success both academically and athletically so that they, too, can appreciate that experience."
Rietz, a 1995 graduate, enjoyed a memorable senior season at Whitman. In conference games, she was her team's second-leading scorer (14.9 ppg) and rebounder (8.5 rpg). She also led the Missionaries in steals against conference opponents with two thefts per game. She capped her senior year by receiving Whitman's scholar-athlete award.
The highlight of her senior season and collegiate career came in January in a home game against conference rival Whitworth. With the game's final seconds ticking away and the Missionaries trailing by one point, Rietz ripped down a rebound, drove the length of the court through several defenders and drew a foul with no time left on the clock. She sank both free throws to give Whitman a 53-52 victory.
"It was a once in a lifetime experience," she said. "I think it's every basketball player's dream to be in the position of winning a game with no time remaining. I know I'll always remember that night."
Rietz majored in psychology at Whitman while completing minors in education and physical education. She also received an endorsement in English. After graduation, she married Doug Rietz, a Walla Walla dentist, and is currently working on a master's degree in counseling psychology at Walla Walla College.
Rietz transferred to Whitman after playing her first two seasons at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. During her freshmen year at CSI, Rietz helped lead the Lady Eagles to the NJCAA National Tournament in Tyler, Texas. Rietz also received scholar-athlete honors during her freshmen and sophomore seasons at CSI.
Rietz was a prep standout at Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho. She earned all-state honors and was named to the West BCI team of Idaho during her junior and senior seasons. As a senior, she was honored as the Snake River Valley player of the year, chosen for the Boise All-Metro Team, and named the Idaho Statesman Athlete of the Week on several occasions. She averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, three steals and four assists as a senior and led her team to a third-place finish at the state tournament.
Her first coaching experience came during her high school years. She coached a 7th and 8th grade girls basketball team for two years and coached at her high school summer basketball camp for six years. In fact, Rietz organized and ran the girl's basketball camp at her school for two years.
"I truly loved working with the girls. That week of camp was one of the best weeks of my summers. Coaching a fundamentals camp was an incredibly rewarding experience."