Welch Earns SEC Freshman of the Week Honors
Jan. 9, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - University of South Carolina forward Aleighsa Welch (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) was named SEC Women's Basketball Freshman of the Week, the league office announced today. Welch led the team with 14.5 points per game while pulling in 6.5 rebounds per game in wins over then-No. 24/21 Vanderbilt and Florida last week as the Gamecocks extended their win streak to eight games, including their first three SEC contests.
"I'm very happy for Aleighsa, who has been very consistent all season for our team," South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. "Her teammates have helped put her in position to be recognized by our league, and, knowing Aleighsa, I'm sure she appreciates that and the wins we have collected this season as much as or more than getting her own individual accolades."
Welch was the team's top scorer in a Thursday night win over then-No. 24/21 Vanderbilt, netting a season-high 19 points. Her offensive output was spearheaded by her fourth game of six offensive rebounds, the fourth-most by a Gamecock freshman in school history. In Sunday's win at Florida, Welch added 10 points and six rebounds.
The freshman forward has steadily improved throughout her inaugural college season, scoring in double figures in four of the last eight games and posting her first career double-digit rebound game against Alabama. She is second on the team in scoring for the season with 8.9 points per game and is the top rebounder with 6.3 boards per outing. Through her first three SEC games, she leads the Gamecocks with 12.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, numbers that rank among the top 10 in the league. Her 66.7 field goal percentage in SEC play is the second-best in the league as well.
South Carolina continues its stretch of four road games among its next five contests with a trip to LSU for an 8 p.m. (ET) tipoff with the Lady Tigers on Thu., Jan. 12. The Gamecocks are back at home on Sun., Jan. 15, against No. 11/9 Kentucky at 3 p.m.