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Nov. 5, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina junior forward Aleighsa Welch (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek HS) was named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team by the league’s coaches, the conference office announced Tuesday morning. The group predicted that the Gamecocks will finish the season tied for fifth in the league standings with Texas A&M.

Welch enjoyed a stellar sophomore campaign last season, which earned her Second-Team All-SEC honors from the league’s coaches and honorable mention status from the Associated Press. She was the team’s leading scorer with 12.0 points per game to rank 22nd in the conference, and her 7.7 rebounds per game were eighth-best in the SEC. She led the league with 4.0 offensive rebounds per game, giving her a total of 131 on the season, which is the second-highest single-season mark in program history. Her 12 double-digit rebound games were the fourth-most in the conference last season.

The Gamecocks are coming off back-to-back 25-win seasons, returning six letterwinners, including two starters, from last year’s team. South Carolina’s other four returning letterwinners each played in at least 29 of the team’s 33 games last season, averaging at least 10 minutes. Four newcomers joined the squad, all hailing from the state of South Carolina. Freshman Alaina Coates headlines the group as she earned McDonald’s and Parade All-America honors last season and became the third South Carolina Player of the Year to join Staley’s program in as many years.

South Carolina opens the regular season on Fri., Nov. 8, hosting Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena. The game kicks off a four-game home stand that includes a 2 p.m. game on Sun., Nov. 10, against Louisiana Tech.

Season and single-game tickets are available online at or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS.

2013-14 SEC Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Tennessee (167)
2. Kentucky (159)
3. LSU (134)
4. Vanderbilt (124)
T5. South Carolina (121)
T5. Texas A&M (121)
7. Georgia (104)
8. Auburn (72)
9. Missouri (69)
10. Florida (60)
11. Mississippi State (51)
12. Arkansas (42)
13. Ole Miss (25)
14. Alabama (24)

2013-14 Preseason All-SEC First Team

DeNesha Stallworth, Kentucky
Theresa Plaisance, LSU
Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina
Bashaara Graves, Tennessee
Meighan Simmons, Tennessee
Courtney Walker, Texas A&M
Christina Foggie, Vanderbilt
Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt