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March 31, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In the midst of a historic season, South Carolina continues to collect accolades, with three individuals claiming All-America honors from the Associated Press today. Junior guard Tiffany Mitchell became the first Gamecock to garner First-Team All-America honors from the organization while freshman guard/forward A’ja Wilson earned a place on the third team and senior forward Aleighsa Welch repeated as an honorable mention. Mitchell is South Carolina’s first two-time AP All-American and the trio joins Shannon Johnson (1996; 3rd team) and Jocelyn Penn (2003; 2nd team) as South Carolina student-athletes to earn AP All-America honors. Mitchell also became the first U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-America selection in school history.

Mitchell repeated as SEC Player of the Year this season as voted by the league’s coaches, adding the honor in the Associated Press list this season. A versatile guard, she is the only player the conference who completed the entire season and ranked in the top 15 in scoring (6th, 14.5 ppg), assists (10th, 2.9 apg) and steals (11th, 1.8 spg). Mitchell has led the team in scoring a team-high 17 times and has scored in double figures 28 times in 36 games this season. Even with so much focus on stopping her, the nation’s best teams have not succeeded as she averages 15.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in the Gamecocks’ 12 games against nationally ranked opponents, during which they are 10-2 this season.

In the NCAA Tournament action, Mitchell’s production has hit another level as her 15.0 points and 5.0 assists per game have powered the Gamecocks into their first-ever NCAA Women’s Final Four. With South Carolina trailing by two in the final three minutes of its first NCAA Elite Eight appearance, Mitchell took over – assisting on Welch’s game-tying basket, hitting a layup, draining a 3-pointer, grabbing her own offensive rebound and hitting two free throws that put the Gamecocks up by five with 27 seconds remaining. Her effort against No. 15/12 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 and No. 7/7 Florida State in the Elite Eight, which included a team-high five assists and six rebounds, earned her a spot on the NCAA Greensboro Regional All-Tournament Team.

The SEC Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-SEC honoree, Wilson is second on the team in scoring with 12.9 points per game on 51.3 percent field goal shooting. Wilson did not shy away from lofty expectations after joining the Gamecocks as the No. 1 recruit in the nation, reaching double figures in 28 of 36 contests this season while producing five double-doubles. The versatile player scored 218 points in just 329 minutes of SEC regular-season action and ended the regular season with a South Carolina freshman record-setting 19-rebound performance against No. 13/15 Kentucky. In the NCAA Tournament, the Hopkins, S.C., native is scoring 10.5 points per game on 63.6 percent shooting (14-of-22).

The Gamecocks’ emotional leader, Welch is South Carolina’s record holder with 440 career offensive rebounds and ranks third in total rebounds and is one of just four Gamecocks all-time to score 1,000 points and 900 rebounds in her career. Against the top competition, the program’s first SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year is at her best, leading South Carolina to a program-record 10 wins over ranked opponents by averaging 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in 12 games against top-25 teams compared to 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in the Gamecocks’ other 24 contests. The forward has notched four double-doubles in the last 14 games.

South Carolina’s season continues this weekend in the national semifinals against No. 2/2 Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. on Sun., April 5, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. ESPN is set to broadcast the Women’s Final Four.

2015 AP All-America First Team
Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame
Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
Amanda Zahui B., Minnesota
Nina Davis, Baylor
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

2015 AP All-America Second Team
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut
Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State
Elizabeth Williams, Duke
Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut
Brittany Boyd, California

2015 AP All-America Third Team
Lexie Brown, Maryland
Samantha Logic, Iowa
Jillian Alleyne, Oregon
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina
Ruth Hamblin, Oregon State
Reshanda Gray, California

2015 AP All-America Honorable Mention
Lindsay Allen, Notre Dame; Morgan Bailey, BYU; Adut Bulgak, FSU; Cierra Burdick, Tenn; Blake Dietrick, Princeton; Lexi Eaton, BYU; Jordan Jones, Texas A&M; Betnijah Laney, Rutgers; Vicky McIntyre, Oral Roberts; Mariya Moore, Louisville; Amber Orrange, Stanford; Kelsey Plum, Wash; Aerial Powers, Mich State; Shereesa Richards, Albany; Porsha Roberts, Stephen F. Austin; Stacia Robertson, High Point; Leticia Romero, Florida State; Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall; Morgan Tuck, UConn; Brianna Turner, Notre Dame; Victoria Vivians, Miss. St; Courtney Walker, Texas A&M; Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland; Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina and Courtney Williams, South Florida

2015 USBWA All-America Team
Breanna Stewart, Jr., F, Connecticut
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G., Notre Dame
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Sr., F, Connecticut
Tiffany Mitchell, Jr., G, South Carolina
Amanda Zuhi B., So., C, Minnesota
Nina Davis, So., F, Baylor
Kelsey Mitchell, Fr., G, Ohio State
Elizabeth Williams, Sr., C/F, Duke
Moriah Jefferson, Jr., G, Connecticut
Samantha Logic, Sr., G, Iowa