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Dec. 10, 2014


COLUMBIA, S.C. – With four entries – Alaina Coates, Tiffany Mitchell, Aleighsa Welch and A’ja Wilson – South Carolina headlines the Naismith Trophy Top 50 Watch List announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club today. It is Welch’s second appearance on the list in as many seasons, and Mitchell made last season’s Midseason 30 list for the award. Coates is one of four centers on the list, and Wilson is the lone freshman to earn recognition. With four entries, South Carolina accounts for half of the SEC’s total presence among the 50 selections.

The reigning SEC Freshman and Co-6th Player of the Year, Coates has been the Gamecocks’ top rebounder in five of eight games with three double-doubles in the books. Her team-high 8.3 rebounds per game are fourth-best in the SEC to go with her 9.8 points per outing. She opened the season with back-to-back double-doubles and is shooting 52.8 percent from the field.

Mitchell is following her All-America campaign last season with a solid start to 2014-15. The team’s top scorer in three of eight games, she has had an impact on all facets of the Gamecocks’ effort. Her 13.9 points per game are 11th in the SEC, while her 3.5 assists per game are among the league’s top 10 as well. Mitchell is having her best 3-point shooting season so far, hitting 47.1 percent from outside the arc to rank 31st in the nation, even as she is using the weapon more frequently as 34 of her 70 field goal attempts have come from 3-point range.

Welch continues her invaluable role on the team that shows itself in more than just her box score numbers. Scoring in double figures in five of eight games this season, she is shooting 56.5 percent from the field with just two games of less than 50.0 percent accuracy despite playing more minutes outside the paint. She is the team’s top shot blocker with 13, which places her third in the SEC with 1.6 per game.

Wilson has thrived in the spotlight of her freshman campaign, scoring in double figures in seven of eight games to rank 13th in the SEC in points per game (13.3). Her points have come in big moments as she has played a key role in both of South Carolina’s comeback victories over ranked opponents this season. Wilson has twice earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors and was named the USBWA National Freshman of the Week this week as well.

South Carolina is taking a short break for exams but is back at Colonial Life Arena for its final home non-conference game on Sun., Dec. 14. The Gamecocks will host Savannah State in a noon tipoff on SEC Network +.

South Carolina women’s basketball season tickets are still available starting at $100 for a Family Four-Pack of four general admission tickets. Single-game tickets are also on sale now and are $7 for adults and $4 for youth (17 and under). Visit or call 1-800-4SC-FANS to purchase tickets.

Naismith Top 50 Watch List