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Nov. 23, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley’s 2011 recruiting class is ranked 12th by Blue Star Basketball and 23rd in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz. The three-player group includes a pair of ESPN Hot 100 players in Elem Ibiam and Aleighsa Welch, along with Tina Roy.

Ibiam is a 6-foot-3 forward rated among the top 15 post players in the 2011 class, according to ESPN HoopGurlz, and is rated the No. 57 overall recruit in the nation by Blue Star Basketball. She averaged 7.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks as a junior at Fayette County High in Fayetteville, Ga.

Welch is Staley’s first in-state signee and is widely considered the top senior in the state. The six-foot forward from Goose Creek, S.C., ranks No. 88 among the ESPN Hot 100 after averaging 19.1 points on 72 percent field goal shooting as a junior. She is a two-time Post and Courier Player of the Year.

Roy may be the sleeper of the group as a 5-foot-11 guard out of Kaplan, La. A three-time all-state selection, she earned Class 3A Most Outstanding Player honors as a junior. Averaging 22.7 points, 18 rebounds and four steals, she helped her team to the regional playoffs as a junior.

The incoming Gamecocks are rated the second-best in the SEC by Blue Star Basketball and fourth-best according to ESPN HoopGurlz. Tennessee leads the way in both ratings.

South Carolina continues a three-game road swing this weekend at Stanford and UC Davis before returning to Colonial Life Arena for an 11 a.m. game on Wed., Dec. 1, against Charleston Southern.