Welch to play in Portugal

Former Goose Creek High School star Aleighsa Welch led USC to a 34-3 record and Final Four berth as a senior. AP Photo/Richard Shiro

Former South Carolina women’s basketball great Aleighsa Welch is headed for Portugal, where the Goose Creek product will play professionally.

Welch announced the move on her Facebook page, along with a photo of her signing her contract. “Overseas contract officially signed, and I’m ready to start this new journey,” she wrote.

Welch will be playing in Madeira, which is a Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco. She leaves in September and will be overseas for approximately eight months, she told The Post and Courier via text message.

Welch was honorable mention All-American as a senior at USC, which she led to a program-best 34-3 record and first trip to the Final Four. The former girls’ state player of the year at Goose Creek High School, she proved a cornerstone of head coach Dawn Staley’s building of the Gamecocks program.

A three-year captain at USC, Welch completed her senior season averaging 9.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. The 6-foot forward finished her college career as one of just four Gamecocks with over 1,000 points and 900 rebounds.

Welch was selected by the Chicago Sky in the second round of the WNBA draft, but was released in training camp. She has been spending her summer in Columbia, working in the USC basketball office and making speaking appearances on behalf of Staley’s program.