By Anna Haynie
It has been said that example is the best teacher.
Dedication, hard work, extra hours of practice and a positive attitude are only a few of the ways Jill Adams has taught the BYU women’s basketball team by example.
If you show up to practice early, it’s likely you’ll see Adams, working on her shooting. If you stick around after practice, there’s a good chance that you’ll see her again … shooting.
Maybe that’s why Adams has consistently been a scoring leader this season. Adams had the top two scoring games of her career within the past two weeks. She hit 25 against Wyoming last Saturday and recorded a career-high 28 against UNLV.
Maybe that’s why she claimed the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week on Monday – the second conference player of the week honor of her collegiate career.
Maybe that’s why Adams ranks among the conference leaders in scoring (15.1 ppg), rebounding (7.1), field goal percentage (.504) and blocks (1.29).
Maybe that’s why she is the only MWC player ranked in NCAA statistics for free throws at No. 16.
But most likely, it’s because she’s been playing sports since she took her first steps as a toddler.
“She’d take a ball and try to make a basket since she was two,” Carol Adams, Jill’s mother, said. “We’d give her a choice between a ball and a toy, she’d take the ball every time.”
She’s tried several other sports, including track and volleyball for one year, but it’s basketball that remains her passion.
“My mind and my heart have always been on the basketball court,” said Adams.
Adams recalls the year she played volleyball.
“I would just look at the hoops during practice and wish I was playing basketball.”
So she went back to hoops.
From the beginning, Adams proved to be a crucial member of BYU’s team. Assistant coach Tom Gneiting recalls when Adams was a freshman, right before he officially came to BYU.
“I was watching them play against Utah and the coach wanted me to write something up about the team,” he said. “Even as a freshman, I saw more potential in Jill than in anyone else on the team to do well.”
Adams, the tallest girl on the team at 6-foot-3, started in 23 of 29 games during her freshman year. She finished the year playing well enough to be voted onto the WAC Mountain Division’s All-Newcomer Team.
Plagued by chronic fatigue syndrome her sophomore year, Adams didn’t see much playing time. Last year, her junior year, she started in all 29 games and was the second leading scorer on the team.
As a result of her hard work, dedication to the team and the game, Adams earned her teammates’ vote for one of the team’s two captains for this year.
Probably one of the hardest workers on the team during the off season, Adams has seen quite a bit of improvement from last year, head coach Trent Shippen said.
“On the court she’s so smooth, sometimes you think she’s not working hard,” Gneiting said. “She makes it look so easy. She can play any position.”
Adams, now the second tallest woman on the team, is using her height to do some damage on the court.
“It’s hard for people to guard her because of her size,” Shippen said. “We’ve tried to utilize that in our motion offense.”
BYU’s leading offensive player, Jill Adams, can’t help but lead by her example.
“When she has good games,” Shippen added, “our team is hard to beat.”