Senior Spotlight on Aleighsa Welch


Although she may not lead the Gamecocks in a single category, this senior spotlight on Aleighsa Welch highlights how she is mostly the glue that holds this team together practically since she came here four years ago.  Welch came to the University of South Carolina from Goose Creek, where the SC Miss Basketball for 2011 became Coach Dawn Staley’s first instate recruit.  Since then, she’s contributed in every and any way possible to make this team successful, and playing whatever role it took to make that happen.

Welch’s play over the past four years have not only propelled her team each and every year, but she’s been constantly recognized for her individual play as well.

  • 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team
  • 2013 All-SEC Second Team
  • 2014 ALL-SEC First Team
  • 2014 All-American Honorable Mention
  • 2015 Naismith Trophy Mid-Season 30

Welch, the 6-0 forward is averaging 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this season, which are incredibly solid contributions game in and game out.  Although her production is down somewhat, it’s all because of the influx of freshman to the team this season, which has impacted everyone.  Ultimately, the biggest change in her performance is her trips to the foul line and her performance there.  The past two seasons she shot 178 and 193 free throws, and this year has only attempted 53 from the line.   This alone is a 4 point reduction per game.   On top of that, she could probably take lessons from Shaquille O’Neal as she is only shooting 41% from the line for the year.  However, she is still averaging more than 10 points per game for her career and will finish as one of the top 15 scorers in South Carolina history.

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Regardless, Welch’s energy, effort, and passion during the game are what really seem to drive this team.  And she definitely steps up and uses her experience in the big games.  She had double-doubles against both #1 Connecticut and #6 Tennessee in the past two weeks.  Those are really the times when you see what she is capable of, and you also see how she can step up when the team seems to really need her.

She has played in 127 games, and that experience will be critical in the coming weeks.  With two big SEC games to finish the regular season, then the SEC tournament and NCAA tournament afterwards, this is the time for her to shine.  But regardless, knowing Welch, she’ll contribute in whatever way is needed at the time.

Tonight at 7pm is senior night, the final regular season home game for this senior.  She deserves a ton of appreciation for what she’s done for this program over the past four seasons, and she will leave some really big shoes to fill.