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Nov. 25, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina junior forward Aleighsa Welch (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek HS) has been named to the Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List as one of the top 50 players in the nation. She is one of eight SEC players named to the list and one of just 18 non-seniors to be recognized.

“It’s great for Aleighsa to get this recognition, which is as much about our team’s success as it is her individual play,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “She has been a good example for our young team in terms of consistent effort and sacrifice for the betterment of the team. In our last win, we didn’t need as much offense from her, but she was as happy as anyone on the bus with how we won that game.”

Welch was a Preseason All-SEC First Team selection this season after capturing second-team honors as a sophomore. She is the only one of the SEC tops five rebounders to also rank among the conference’s top 10 scorers with her 13.2 ppg (16th) and 9.5 rpg (5th). She has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding in five of six games this season and has led the scoring output twice. Welch has posted three double-doubles already this season and has scored in double figures in all but one game. She is already among the program’s top offensive rebounders, ranking sixth in school history with 258 in her career.

South Carolina, which moved up to No. 17 in the AP poll this week, is in action tonight at Southern Cal at 8 p.m. (ET). The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena on Mon., Dec. 2, to face NC Central at 7 p.m.

Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List

Natalie Achonwa, Sr., Notre Dame
Rachel Banham, Jr., Minnesota
Tiffany Blas, Sr., Oklahoma State
Brittany Boyd, Jr., California
Gennifer Brandon, R-Sr., California
Kirby Burkholder, Sr., James Madison
Asya Bussie, Sr., West Virginia
Hallie Christofferson, Sr., Iowa State
Jerica Coley, Sr., Florida International
Kaela Davis, Fr., Georgia Tech
Jazmine Davis, Jr., Washington
Diamond DeShields, Fr. North Carolina
Stefanie Dolson, Sr., Connecticut
Aaryn Ellenberg, Sr., Oklahoma
Christina Foggie, Sr., Vanderbilt
Chassidy Fussell, Sr., Texas
Bashaara Graves, So., Tennessee
Chelsea Gray, Sr., Duke
Cassie Harberts, Sr., Southern Cal
Bria Hartley, Sr., Connecticut
Jordan Hooper, Sr., Nebraska
Andrea Hoover, Jr., Dayton
Natasha Howard, Sr., Florida State
Brittany Hrynko, Jr., DePaul
Betnijah Laney, Jr., Rutgers
Tricia Liston, Sr., Duke
Jewell Loyd, So., Notre Dame
Maggie Lucas, Sr., Penn State
Tyaunna Marshall, Sr., Georgia Tech
Ariel Massengale, Jr., Tennessee
Kayla McBride, Sr., Notre Dame
Xylina McDaniel, So., North Carolina
Laurin Mincy, R-Jr., Maryland
Courtney Moses, Sr., Purdue
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Jr., Connecticut
Jasmine Newsome, Sr., UT-Martin
Chiney Ogwumike, Sr., Stanford
Haley Peters, Sr., Duke
Theresa Plaisance, Sr., LSU
Michelle Plouffe, Sr., Utah
Ebony Rowe, Sr., Middle Tennessee
Schoni Schimmel, Sr., Louisville
Meighan Simmons, Sr., Tennessee
Odysseey Sims, Sr., Baylor
DeNesha Stallworth, Sr., Kentucky
Breanna Stewart, So., Connecticut
Alyssa Thomas, Sr., Maryland
Courtney Walker, So., Texas A&M
Aleighsa Welch, Jr., South Carolina
Elizabeth Williams, Jr., Duke