- Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (2005)
- Two-Time Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 10, Jan. 17, 2005)
- First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (2007)
- Veterans Day Classic All-Tournament Team (2006)
- Bachelor's Degree from Nebraska (May, 2006)
- Four-Time Big 12 Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll
(Fall 2004, 2005; Spring 2005, 2006)
- First-Team NJCAA All-American (2004)
- First-Team NJCAA All-Region VI (2004)
- First-Team NJCAA Region VI All-Tournament Team (2004)
- Northeast-10 Conference All-Freshman Team (2003)
- Serbian National Team (2004)
The Personal Side
Full name: Jelena Spiric
Father, Slobodan Spiric
Mother, Branislava Spiric
Brother, Nikola, 28
Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia
High School: The Belgrade V
Date of Birth: Aug. 11, 1983
Place of Birth: Belgrade, Serbia
The Personal Side
Jelena Spiric (pronounced YELL-uh-nuh SPEER-itch) returned for her senior season after missing all of 2005-06 with a knee injury suffered on Oct. 18, 2005. She was granted a medical hardship and chose to return to Nebraska instead of beginning a professional career in Europe.
While rehabilitating her injury, she continued to focus on academics, earning her bachelor's degree in biochemistry in May of 2006.
The 2005 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Spiric started all 32 games for the Huskers as a senior and earned first-team academic All-Big 12 honors for her accomplishments in the classroom.
On the court, she averaged 6.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while helping the Huskers to one of the best seasons in school history in 2006-07. Nebraska finished the year with a 22-10 overall record while making the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2000. The Huskers also spent six weeks in the Associated Press Top 25 national rankings.
Spiric scored in double figures on five occasions as a senior, including a season-high 13 points in Nebraska's 66-59 win over No. 18 New Mexico in the final game of the Veterans Day Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Spiric added five rebounds against the Lobos to claim a spot on the Veterans Day Classic All-Tournament team.
She scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field to help the Huskers knock off in-state rival Creighton, 60-57, on Dec. 19 in Omaha, before adding 11 points in the Huskers' 76-67 win over No. 13 Baylor on Feb. 3. Spiric added one of the best games of her career with 10 points, seven rebounds and an assist in NU's 90-70 Senior Night win over Colorado on Feb. 27. Spiric played that game with her parents Slobodan and Branislava in attendance for the first time to watch her play in the United States.
With her parents in attendance again, she added 10 points and three rebounds in the Huskers' 79-76 overtime loss to Iowa State in the second round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Feb. 7.
Spiric dished out a career-high six assists in Nebraska's road win at Missouri on Jan. 20, and snagged a career-high five steals against Big 12 co-champion Oklahoma on Jan. 6.
Senior (Redshirt, 2005-06)
Spiric suffered a knee injury in fall practice on Oct. 18 and missed the entire 2005-06 season.
She earned spots on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll in both the fall and spring semesters and received her degree in biochemistry from the University of Nebraska in May 2006.
Spiric made an instant impact on Nebraska’s lineup by earning Big 12 Conference Newcomer-of-the-Year honors in her first season with the Huskers.
She started 14 of NU’s 16 Big 12 games and ranked second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding with 9.3 points and 4.6 boards per game in league action. She also ranked second on the team with 33 steals and third with 28 assists in Big 12 play.
Spiric’s increased contribution in league action allowed her to close the season ranked third on the team in scoring at 8.1 points per game, while tying for third in rebounding with 4.1 boards per contest. She ranked second on the team with 1.7 steals, amd fourth on the club with 1.8 assists per game.
An NJCAA All-American at Colby (Kan.) Community College in 2004, Spiric scored in double figures 12 times on the season, including seven times in Big 12 action and in both of NU’s Postseason WNIT contests.
In the Postseason WNIT, Spiric averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game, including an 18-point, six-rebound effort against Iowa when she tied her career high with two three-pointers.
Spiric’s late-season surge came after playing at less than 100 percent during the non-conference season while gaining strength after knee surgery in March of 2004.
She wasted little time in making a name for herself during the conference season. Spiric earned a pair of Big 12 Rookie-of-the-Week awards (Jan. 10 and Jan. 17). She averaged 13 points and six rebounds in wins over Colorado and Missouri to open Big 12 play and win her first award on Jan. 10.
She averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game against No. 2 Baylor and Kansas State to win her second Big 12 weekly honor on Jan. 17.
Spiric made her first Big 12 start in NU’s 103-99 triple overtime victory over No. 2 Baylor on Jan. 12, and erupted for career highs with 19 points and nine rebounds. She also started in the loss at No. 23 Kansas State on Jan. 15, scoring 10 points and pulling down five boards.
In the win over Baylor, Spiric hit 15-of-16 free throws, including eight straight free throws to open the third overtime period to lead the Huskers to victory.
Spiric’s 15 made free throws rank as the second-highest total in NU history, while her 16 attempts rank fourth on the Husker single-game chart. Her 44 minutes against the Bears demolished her previous career high of 26 minutes played against Colorado.
Spiric had 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in Nebraska’s 81-74 win at Missouri on Jan. 8. During NU’s decisive 26-6 run in the final 8:26, Spiric hit 5-of-6 free throws, while adding one rebound, one assist and one steal to help the Huskers.
She had a 10-point, four-rebound, four-steal effort in the regular-season finale at Colorado. She added 11 points, five rebounds and a career-high five steals against Kansas State on Feb. 23.
Spiric also produced a strong 10-point, six-rebound, five-assist performance in the Huskers’ 73-59 win at Texas A&M on Feb. 16. Against Oklahoma on Feb. 6, she had 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 70-51 win over the Sooners. She added a solid eight-point, three-rebound effort in NU’s win over No. 14 Iowa State on Feb. 12.
In NU’s win over Memphis on Dec. 30, Spiric had 10 points, five rebounds and a career-best six assists. In NU’s win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 20, Spiric had the first double-figure scoring effort of her career with 10 points, while adding four rebounds and three assists.
Through NU’s first seven games when she started five contests, Spiric averaged just 3.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game. In Nebraska's final nine games of the season, Spiric averaged 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 steals per game, while shooting 57.6 percent (34-59) from the field and 42.8 percent (6-14) from three-point range.
2003-04 (Colby CC)
In her only season at Colby CC, Spiric led the Lady Trojans to their best season in school history.
Spiric joined fellow Serbian and former Husker Ivana Drmanac in leading Colby to a school-record 29 wins and a No. 8 national ranking for Coach Tom Stephens. Colby's 29-4 record included a 16-3 mark against ranked foes.
Spiric averaged 15.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game. She earned first-team NJCAA All-America honors, while adding first-team NJCAA All-Region VI honors. Her 517 points as a sophomore represented the eighth-highest single-season point total in school history. She hit 64 percent of her two-point attempts, 36.2 percent of her three-point attempts and 82.9 percent of her free throws.
Spiric attended the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and started 30 games as a true freshman for the NCAA Division II power River Hawks.
In her only season, she averaged 8.9 points per game and 2.5 steals per game. She added 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest to help the River Hawks to a 23-8 overall record, a 17-5 conference mark and a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Spiric attended The V Belgrade High School and played club basketball for Red Star, Radivoj Korac, Partizan, Vojvodina and the Serbian National Team program. She played on the Partizan club team with former Husker Ivana Drmanac.
The daughter of Slobodan and Branislava Spiric, Jelena was born on Aug. 11, 1983, in Belgrade, Serbia. She has one brother, Nikola, 28.
An outstanding student, Jelena finished her undergraduate career with a 3.522 grade-point average as a biochemistry major. She is a four-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll and earned her bachelor's degree from Nebraska in May 2006.
Spiric chose Nebraska over California, Oklahoma State, UTEP, New Mexico State, Manhattan and UNC-Wilmington.
Spiric's Career Statistics
Year G-GS FG-FGA Pct. 3P-3PA Pct. FT-FTA Pct. TRB-Avg. PF-D A TO Blk ST Pts-Avg. Career 64-55 158-363 .435 34-118 .288 108-140 .771 270-4.2 150-3 128 142 6 84 458-7.2