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Nov. 15, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina head women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley announced that Aleighsa Welch (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University and play basketball for the Gamecocks. She will have four years of eligibility beginning with the 2011-12 academic year.

“It is with great pride that we announce the signing of Aleighsa Welch for a lot of reasons,” Staley said. “She is a winner. Her ability to score in a variety of ways and rebound in a crowd instantly makes us better. She’s our first South Carolina signee, and seeing what Coach [Steve] Spurrier has done in our state with his program, we look forward to building our success the same way.”

Considered to be the top senior in the state, Welch, a six-foot forward, ranks No. 88 among the ESPN HoopGurlz Hot 100 after averaging 19.1 points on 72 percent field goal shooting as a junior. Adding 10.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per outing, Welch earned The Post and Courier Player of the Year and All-Lowcountry team honors for the second-straight year. Her 36 points and 15 rebounds over Spring Valley led Goose Creek to its first state basketball championship after the Gators overcame a 21-point deficit.

South Carolina continues its three-game homestand to start the 2010-11 season with a 7 p.m. game against Illinois at Colonial Life Arena tonight.