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Adams excelling in increased role

Jared Sullinger isn’t the only freshman forward dominating in the low post these days.

On the women’s basketball side, Ashley Adams — filling in for injured senior starter Sarah Schulze — posted her second consecutive career-high game in points, dropping 16 in an 81-67 win against Iowa on Monday, after recording 13 points in OSU’s 71-62 win against Illinois on Thursday.

Coach Jim Foster said in his postgame press conference that Adams’ performance is partially attributed to how the team has been practicing.

“We’ve been doing a great job conditioning our players in practice,” he said. “A kid who’s not playing can come in and play 25 minutes and then play 36 minutes.”

Adams played heavy minutes off the bench against Illinois on Thursday, before making her first career start against No. 18-ranked Iowa. She didn’t play a single minute against Michigan State on Jan. 16.

“Our freshmen’s careers will be better suited in the long run, that they had to earn their opportunity,” Foster said. “They’ll be able to tell next year’s freshmen that hard work is important.”

Instead of Adams, freshman Martina Ellerbe started in place of Schulze against Illinois. Schulze roomed with Ellerbe the night before the game.

“I just told her to relax and have fun,” Schulze said. “I didn’t really talk to Ashley (about starting). She’s hard to read emotionally, but she’s always pretty laid back and cool.”

Schulze injured her right knee against Michigan State after attempting a rebound.

“The bottom of my leg went left and the top went right,” Schulze said. “My whole leg took a beating.”

She tore an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a medial collateral ligament (MCL) and meniscus in the awkward landing.

“I’m rehabbing now,” she said. “I’m just doing the little things to build up strength and keep (my right knee) stable.”

In the meantime, Adams, who came into the Iowa game averaging 7.8 minutes per game, seems to have fit in seamlessly with the starting lineup.

“(Adams starting) makes it a lot easier,” senior center Jantel Lavender said in a postgame interview. “If I’m getting double-teamed, I’ll just throw it up and she’s going to go get it.”

Lavender scored 22 points against Iowa and recorded six assists. Schulze watched from the bench and praised the team’s offensive performance.

“Ashley’s going to be a beast,” Schulze said. “I’m not much of a post player, but now, with Ashley and Jan (Lavender), teams are going to have trouble defending us.”

The No. 24-ranked Buckeyes will host Michigan at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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