COLLEGE PARK, Md.-When sophomore Jessica Adair posted her first career double-double in a tight 66-53 loss to Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, she demonstrated what type of impact she was capable of having.
And with the Colonials’ need for a strong inside presence heading into the season, it appears that Adair may be the answer after her solid play over the weekend.
The 6-foot-4 D.C. native, who has had little practice time so far due to injuries, scored in double-digits in all three games against teams that could show up again in March.
Adair matched up against preseason second team All-American Crystal Langhorne in Sunday’s contest with Maryland, scoring 10 points and pulling down seven rebounds against the likely future WNBA player.
With the one-on-one match-up style of play that the Colonials use, Adair and Langhorne were often alone underneath the basket.
“She’s a great post player. She’s very physical, and in trying to get better looks you just have to go harder,” Langhorne said of Adair following the game.
After sitting out the first two games of the year to heal a pulled back muscle that affected her right shoulder, Adair put up a career-high 22 points and grabbed 7 rebounds while carrying the Colonials through the second half against Arizona on Friday, despite experiencing soreness.
GW struggled with the scrappy Wildcats until Adair went on a tear, scoring 13 points in the final 10:37, as well as stepping out to the perimeter to block a three-pointer by Arizona guard Joy Hollingsworth with 59 seconds remaining and the Colonials down by one point.
Against a TCU team that received votes in both national polls, Adair’s contributions were not as necessary, as GW had five players score in double figures. But once again, her 10 points, eight of which came in the second half, and seven rebounds were not all the sophomore had to offer.
After picking up her fourth foul with 16:16 left in the second half, coach Joe McKeown benched Adair in favor of forward Chantelle John, who pulled up with a hamstring injury with about 11 minutes left. McKeown had no choice but to put Adair back into the game, despite her foul trouble.
The fouls, however, seemed to have little affect on Adair, who bounced back to block two shots. “It wasn’t difficult (playing with four fouls) because I knew what I had to do as far as not fouling,” she said. “Once you’re conscious of it, you’re fine.”
Adair admitted that she is by no means the leader of the team while McKeown agreed that he is not yet ready to “anoint her queen of GW basketball.” The coach did, however, point out that Adair’s impact propels GW to a national-level team, rather than just a force in the Atlantic 10.
“She’s the X-factor,” he said. “She has the ability to really change the game.”
At the end of the weekend, despite her success in her first three games of the year, Adair said that she is not yet satisfied with her level of play.
“Learning-wise, I have to step my game up and make a name for myself so people know who I am,” she said. “I still have to play harder.”