The light has turned on for Khiya Adams.

And it sure is bright.

The Colorado State University-Pueblo junior has found her niche with the Pack women's basketball team. And it's been a revelation.

As a sophomore, Adams was a part-time player. Although she appeared in 31 games, she played only 11 minutes a game and averaged just 1.6 points and 2.2 rebounds a game. She was instrumental near the end of the season, scoring a season-high eight points in helping the ThunderWolves win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference shootout championship over Black Hill State.

As a freshman, Adams played in 24 games but was limited to just four minutes a game as she was learning the college game.

All of that is now behind her as she's become a fixture this season for the Pack.

Adams doesn't know exactly why the light has turned on.

"I would just say my team has given me the opportunity," Adams said. "Last year I was playing behind people who were better than me. This year I feel like I have to step it up a little bit more.

"This is my junior year and I have only one more year after this so I might as well turn it on. Better late than never.

"It's a combination. Adjusting to (my teammates) and adjusting to me. Something happened. Maybe I ate my Wheaties."

CSU-Pueblo coach Curtis Loyd says Adams' development isn't surprising.

"I wsa excited to see what I had with her when I got here," Loyd said. "Injuries slowed her down but now that those are out of the way, she understands her development and with the team. That's the biggest thing, she understands what we need her to do.

"We put that responsibility with our post players. Don't settle, stay aggressive."

Adams has been a model of consistency. She's scored in double figures seven of 10 games and pulled down 10 or more rebounds four times. She's recorded three double-doubles, including a 20-point, 13-rebound effort in the win over Dixie State this past Saturday.

Two weeks ago, Adams also had double-doubles with a 23-point, 10-rebound performance in a 65-64 win over Adams State. She followed that up with a 22-point effort in a blowout win over Fort Lewis.

The learning curve has sped up for Adams in a program that has produced top-notch post players. Adams credits last year's outstanding post player Molly Rohrer for much of her success.

"One of my really, really good friends Molly (Rohrer), I've learned from her and how she plays," Adams said. "She told me to pick a few moves that work and just get the ball to the basket. That basically is what I've tried to do. She definitely gave me a few tips."

Adams wants to get better and knows there's room for improvement.

"I would say I need to prepare fo r people to push me outside of the lane," she said. "There's always room for improvement. Obviously, my free throws (55 percent). Being strong going up to the basket is something I struggle with and missed opportunities for rebounds.

Adams understand the expectations placed on a team and a program that has made six consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

"I feel like in our offseason there was glimpses of stuff and if we kept working on it there would be something special," she said. "Now it's clicking. All the good things are coming together now and it's really exciting."

Loyd said the sky is the limit for Adams.

"As long as she stays locked in, she could be one of the top player in this conference," Loyd said. "She doesn't have a void in her game. She's a very versatile post player who can shot jumpers from the high post and can drive from the low block. She can make things work from all angles."

Adams' younger sister Jade also is on the team and Khiya couldn't be happier.

"I've played with her club, high school, under my dad and now here," Khiya said. "It's a different experience but it fits. It would be way different if she wasn't here."

jletofsky@chieftain.com