The outstanding 23-year-old post player has this season has lit up the Women’s SuperLeague with her professional and explosive approach since her arrival this season.
As a raw 14-year-old Tomica listened to her father Peter, a former top basketball player in Yugoslavia, who urged his daughter to follow in his footsteps into the game. She played at underage level for Croatia.
However, after finishing a four-year scholarship last season with Iona College in New York, Bacic was resigned to giving up the game and looking for work, before a summer of watching the Olympic basketball frenzy in London changed her mind.
“I enjoyed my time at Iona but the coaching did not suit me and I vowed to give it up when my scholarship ended, but looking at the commitment of the players in the Olympics changed my mind,” Bacic said.
The change of heart came after discussing her predicament with roommate Jessica Scannell, the daughter of Bord Gais Neptune coach Mark.
“Jessica’s influence was crucial and her father Mark advised me to sign for Team Montenotte and I am delighted to be playing and living in this wonderful city,” added Tomica.
Looking ahead to the final against UL, Bacic believes it will be a battle from start to finish.
“I am very excited to be playing in a National Cup final but the most important thing for me is for my teammates to understand that this decider is going to be a marathon and not a sprint.”
Tomica played a pivotal role when helping Montenotte end UL’s remarkable two-year unbeaten record before the Christmas break, but she is not banking on that happening again in similar fashion.
“We trailed by 23 points in the first half and came back to win by 13 and the lesson from that game sticks in my mind as we have to got to share the ball better on this occasion.”
The Croatian international also believes the Cork team will have to be clinical with their shooting.
“UL like to play a lot of zone defence so in my book we will have to shoot the ball well, but then again I am told the hoops in the National Basketball Arena are tight.”
Tomica has plenty of respect for UL but the Croatian has a never-say-die attitude that is presently getting her plenty of admiration in this country.
“I am also a realist and you have got to give quality teams like UL the respect they deserve as when you go two years without a defeat you are doing something right.”
Bacic laid her cards on the table on what it would mean to win a cup medal. “No matter where I have competed, I have always done my best but Team Montenotte is not about me as we have a squad of 12 players that yearn to bring this title back to Cork, where it belongs,” concluded Tomica.