FAIRBORN — When she first stepped onto the court last season it had been well over a year since former Fairmont standout Chelsea Welch decided to transfer to Wright State from the University of Pittsburgh. She didn’t show any rust in her game after the absence and has been much more than a pleasant surprise.
Welch is now a senior point guard and has already garnered a slew of accolades, including Horizon League first team honors last season and this season’s preseason player of the year, reaching 1,000 career points and currently ranking 30th in the NCAA in scoring average (20.1).
In order to maintain a sharp focus, Welch says that she doesn’t feed off of her performances in the stat column.
“I let the game come to me and try to play the best that I can to help our team win,” Welch said.
Saying Welch is purely a scorer would be an understatement. She is capable of playing at four positions and opens up the offense not only when the ball is in her hands, according to WSU coach Katrina Merriweather.
“The biggest emphasis is what she (Welch) does for us defensively. She gets a ton of deflections, is usually in the right spot and anticipates well,” Merriweather said. “She creates our offense from her defense more so than us running plays for her.”
With five freshmen on the WSU roster this season veteran leadership will be key, which Welch can provide.
“The fact that she has embraced them and understands that having them be better is going to make our team successful is a very mature stance to have as opposed to believing she can do it all on her own,” Merriweather said.
In recent seasons, the Raiders have been led by versatile guards in Tay’ler Mingo, Kim Demmings and now Welch. One quality they all have shared is how they approach the process of getting ready for games, according to Merriweather.
“When people want to know why she (Welch) is so successful in games, it’s because that is how hard she plays every day in practice,” Merriweather said. “She prepares every time we step out onto the floor.”
During the non-conference schedule, WSU has been tested with opponents like Richmond, Providence, Belmont and a ranked Missouri team that Welch scored 36 points against in a narrow 82-80 loss. They will face Georgia on the road Thursday, Dec. 21 and host Green Bay on Thursday, Dec. 28.
“We don’t see a big name and get scared. We’re just going to prepare for them like it’s any other game,” Welch said. “If we work hard and stick to the way we play, then hopefully we come out on top.”
Though her team has their eyes set on more than a regular-season league crown, Welch feels the strides made last year have made a positive impact on their mindset.
“As a team, it showed us our potential and how great we can be. That is definitely making us hungry for this year,” Welch said. “Personally, I try to take it one year at a time. It does help me, because I now know what I’m capable of and my weaknesses, so I can try to be a more consistent player.”
In addition to her impressive on the court prowess, Welch is an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which organizes community service opportunities for Raider athletes and implements ideas to make improvements to the athletics program. She is the Director of Public Relations for the committee, runs the Twitter page and was named WSU SAAC athlete of the month for November.
With much of her final college season remaining, there is no denying Welch’s will to succeed.
Story courtesy Wright State athletics. http://www.wsuraiders.com