Tough times become worth it for basketball player

Subasic chose WSU because she knew former Cougar teammates from playing internationally



Redshirt junior Jovana Subasic shoots the ball against BYU on Nov. 9 at Beasley Coliseum.

CARSON BROWN, Evergreen Reporter

At 6 years old, Jovana Subasic found her love for basketball at a hoop outside her house in Serbia.

“I spent hours shooting every day,” now-redshirt junior forward Subasic said. “My daily schedule was go to school, eat a few times a day and shoot hoops.”

When she went to shoot hoops, there was a group of children who would not let her play with them because she was not good enough, Subasic said.  

“Well, three or four years later, they still wouldn’t let me play, but this time it was because I [was] too good for them,” she said. “It was really funny.”

Her dad was her biggest inspiration and he pushed her to be as successful as possible in basketball, she said. He took her to the gym and played basketball with her.

“Without my dad, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today,” Subasic said.

She made the Serbian U16 National Team in 2012-13, according to the WSU Athletics website. This helped get her exposure during her time on the team.

“I knew practically nothing about college basketball in America, but I knew I wanted to come,” Subasic said.

A few Pac-12 teams showed interest in her, but she chose WSU because of the international makeup of the team and she knew former Cougar teammates Maria Kostourkova and Pinelopi Pavlopoulou from playing in Europe, Subasic said.

“When you love something as much as I love basketball, you can’t stop. The tough moments become worth it when you know giving up means you’re losing everything.”

Redshirt junior forward Jovana Subasic

“I knew the Pac-12 was a great league by checking the statistics,” Subasic said.

When she first made it to Pullman, she redshirted her freshman year because she was not competing. Instead, she was making strides to improve her strength and fell in love with the weight room, Subasic said.

While her skills were improving, she was not seeing any game time and had to stay in shape as a redshirt. She also was uncomfortable with English, and she thought about quitting during her sophomore year, Subasic said.  

“I would run stairs before and after every game whether we were at home or on the road,” Subasic said. “Then the next year, I still didn’t play in games and it all hit me at once.”

She was questioning herself for the first time since she picked up a basketball at age six outside her house in Serbia.

“I hated it. I was frustrated … I kept blaming it on myself. Thought I wasn’t strong enough or good enough,” Subasic said.

Head coach Kamie Ethridge was hired and things changed for Subasic. She began to play in the games and her love for basketball returned.

“When you love something as much as I love basketball, you can’t stop,” Subasic. “The tough moments become worth it when you know giving up means you’re losing everything.”

Subasic is now in her redshirt junior season and is averaging 8.1 points per game for the Cougars and has even started five games on the year. As the season winds down, Subasic is excited for her senior season and wants to play at the level of senior guard Chanelle Molina and redshirt senior forward Borislava Hristova, she said.

Living up to their standards is a high task for Subasic. Molina said Subasic’s ability to space the floor will make her a reliable option in the Cougars’ offense.

“She makes it so when she sets screens they have to worry about the pick and pop more than the ball-handler,” Molina said.

Subasic said she wants to lead by example. Molina said she thinks Subasic will do a great job of that because her study habits.

“Not only does she lead by example on the court, but she does it in the classroom,” Molina said. “She’s the definition of a student athlete. She always has a laptop in front of her when she isn’t playing basketball.”

Subasic is an international business and finance major and minoring in political science, according to the WSU’s Athletics website.

When it’s all said and done and her final game comes to an end, Subasic said she wants to be remembered in terms of WSU basketball. She hopes to be spoken about as a player who led by example and put the team first in all situations for many years to come. Subasic said.

“I want to be remembered as a player who made everyone else around them better,” Subasic said.