Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Adams began her college career at Jefferson College. She earned Junior College All-American honors both years at the school, and as a sophomore, led her team to a runner-up finish at the NJCAA DI Women's Basketball Championship and a 34–1 record. Following the completion of her sophomore year at the two-year school, she contemplated where to play the next two years. Two of the schools she considered were Louisville and Texas A&M. Although her coach recommended Louisville, she decided that Texas A&M would be a better choice to prepare her for the future.
She came into A&M weighing 280 pounds. With support from the coaching staff, including conditioning coach Jen Jones, she slimmed down to 230 pounds her senior year. As a result, she was able to play "longer and harder" which helped her to become a first team All-American. In her junior year, she came off the bench and played just over 23 minutes per game. As a senior, she started, and was able to play 35 minutes per game.
To get to the Final Four, Adams would have to help her team beat Baylor, a task that has been difficult recently. Baylor beat Texas A&M in both regular season meetings, and in the Big Twelve conference tournament game. In that game, Texas A&M held a lead late, but could not hold on to win. In the Dallas regional Final, Texas A&M pulled out to a large lead, and was leading by 16 points almost halfway through the second half, when Baylor tried to mount a come-back. Baylor cut the margin to seven points, but could not get any closer, and Texas A&M went on to win the first game in their last nine meetings, and move on to the Final Four.
In the National Championship game against Notre Dame, the Irish were leading at halftime by two points, but extended the lead with a 7–3 run to start the second half. During a media time out the Texas A&M coaching staff told Adams to go inside. She ended up scoring 30 points, second most in NCAA Championship history and earning the award for Most Outstanding Player. She is only the second player, after Sheryl Swoopes to come from the junior college ranks and go on to win a Most Outstanding Player award. Swoopes is also the only player to score more than Adams in a title game. After scoring only eight points in the first half, she scored ten consecutive points by herself in the second half, as part of a 15–5 run that gave the Aggies the lead. Notre Dame would tie the game later, but Adams responded with two consecutive baskets to give her team a lead it would never relinquish.
Adams was selected in the second round of the 2011 WNBA Draft (20th overall) by the San Antonio Silver Stars. On June 11, 2011, she scored 32 points against the Atlanta Dream, setting the franchise's rookie record. She was also named the Rookie of the Month for the month of June.
Adams was named as a reserve to the roster of the All-Star team for the 2011 WNBA All-Star game, along with Silver Stars teammate Becky Hammon. The reserves were selected by the twelve head coaches of the WNBA teams; each coach is not permitted to vote for their own players. At the time of the decision, Adams was the leading scorer among rookies in the league, with a scoring average of 15.6 points per game. She also received more write-in votes than any other player. Adams was one of four rookies on the All-Star team, the other three being Maya Moore, Courtney Vandersloot and Liz Cambage.
Adams was suspended on July 29, 2015 by the WNBA for three games without pay due to violation of the league's Anti-Drug Policy for unspecified charges. Adams admitted she was guilty and apologized to her teammates and the community. She was waived by the San Antonio Stars in April 2016.
In February 2017, Adams signed a training camp contract with the Connecticut Sun. In April 2017, she made the final roster for the team.
She is the daughter of Tiffany Hill and has a younger sister2009—State Farm/WBCA Junior College Player of the Year
2010—Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player
2011—NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
2011—WNBA All-Rookie Team