NATCHITOCHES – Janelle Perez has been named as the 2012-13 Southland Conference Women's Basketball freshman of the year the league announced Monday along with the release of its all-conference team.
The 5-2 guard is the fifth Lady Demon to win the award, voted on by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors, and was also named to the all-conference third team.
"It's great recognition for our program, and anytime you have a postseason award winner it's a big deal for a program because it shows that there is success," said co-head coach Brooke Stoehr. "She's done a great job. She comes to work every single day, and you always know what you're going to get from her."
Perez, a native of El Paso, Texas (Horizon HS), led the country in minutes per game (37.9) by a freshman. She was the league's top freshman in assists (3.4), free-throw percentage (.809), assist-turnover ration (1.0), and second in points per game (11.0).
She has started every game this season, the only Lady Demon to do so, and leads NSU in minutes, assists, and free throw percent. She is second on the team in 3-point percentage and third in steals.
She won SLC player of the week for the week of Feb. 11, and was the first freshman to do so since 2013 player of the year Megan Herbert won the award three years ago.
"I'm really excited. I couldn't have done it without my teammates and my coaches. They believed in me, and I just continue to work to get better," said Perez. "It's great, but I still have work to do. I won't stop here, and I want to continue to push myself and help my teammates."
She is NSU's first freshman of the year since Demetria White won the award in 2009. All-time Northwestern State and Southland Conference greats Joskeen Garner (1993), Judy Clark (1997), and Chassidy Jones (2004) also took the award.
Her career-high in points is 21 when she was six-of-10 from the field with a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line against Alcorn State. She has a high of seven assists against McNeese State.
She will lead the Lady Demons in their first postseason game in two years when they play in the Southland Conference Tournament Wednesday at 11 a.m. against McNeese.