Born in Becej, Serbia, the 6-foot-1-inch senior Jasmina Ilic has sparked the CU women’s basketball team’s offense this season.
She is averaging 12.7 points per game and has a team-high free throw percentage of 87.7 percent. The team has an overall record of 8-7, but after beating Missouri in its first Big 12 Conference game and Iowa State in its second, the team is playing well at an important time since slump earlier in the season.
“Going off of a losing season and the season before that, I think we have to pay attention to little details and work on team chemistry,” Ilic said. “I think we’ve learned from past years how to stay together when things go bad.”
Ilic is the first player from Serbia to play for the Buffs.
She has been a major addition to the program since she joined the Buffs on Dec. 25, 2003. In her sophomore and junior year, Ilic led the team in 3-point field goals for the season. She hit 55 3-pointers in her junior year, which ranks 12th all-time on the CU single-season list.
But the move from Serbia to Boulder in 2003 was a little tricky for Ilic at first.
“In the beginning, the major transition was the language barrier because I was really poor in English,” Ilic said.
Ilic was recruited while playing in the European Championship. She was the youngest player to ever play for the Serbia senior national team in 2003.
Before then, Ilic played on some junior national teams and won the European Championship in 1999. She was named best player at the 1999 championship.
“We were always small, so we were always underestimated. Winning a European Championship as a small national team, it was a great deal,” Ilic said.
Ilic comes from a very athletic background. Her father was a professional soccer player and her mother was a professional handball player.
“They had a huge impact on me. Since I was a kid I was surrounded by my parents’ practices,” Ilic said. “Basically, I was involved in sports my whole life. It was more about what I want to play.”
Ilic and the team will need to keep some momentum moving forward when they play several AP ranked teams in the Big 12 Conference.
After falling to No. 22 Texas last Saturday, the team then faces No. 17 Texas A&M and No. 7 Oklahoma.