Seattle U women’s basketball coach Joan Bonvicini, in her seventh season at SU, earned her 700th career victory Saturday with a 59-45 win over Chicago State at the on-campus Connolly Center, making her the 17th Division I women’s coach to reach 700 wins.

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It was a milestone win more than 35 seasons in the making.

Seattle U women’s basketball coach Joan Bonvicini, in her seventh season at SU, earned her 700th career victory Saturday with a 59-45 win over Chicago State at the on-campus Connolly Center, making her the 17th Division I women’s coach to reach 700 wins.

After using a 16-0 fourth-quarter run to erase a five-point deficit midway through the third quarter, Bonvicini was treated to a bouquet, commemorative basketball and a video tribute that included well wishes from, among many others, Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma and Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, each with more than 900 wins.

“I’m really a person in the moment, but it’s a big honor. It’s very humbling,” Bonvicini said after the postgame ceremony. “It was wonderful with the video, because all those people are my friends.”

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Bonvicini, 62, began her head coaching career at Long Beach State and recorded her first win on Nov. 17, 1979, defeating Drake. In her dozen seasons there she guided the 49ers to 12 straight postseason appearance, then moved on to Arizona for the next 17 seasons before coming to Seattle for the 2009-10 season.

She has a career mark of 700-409 (.631), and is the 10th winningest active coach in Division I women’s basketball.

The number is nice, said Bonvicini, but she is more focused on her current team, which is 8-9 overall and 2-0 in Western Athletic Conference play.

“Honestly, I’m ready for the next one,” she said.

Senior point guard Kaylee Best, a Lakeside grad who hit a momentum-swinging three-pointer late in the third quarter, praises Bonvicini’s influence.

“She just cares so much,” Best said. “Every day she comes to the office, and every day she wants to be there, not only to coach but to help us become better people, better women, better basketball players.”

Against Chicago State (2-14, 0-2 WAC), the Redhawks trailed 29-27 at the half and fell behind by five in the third with leading scorer Taelor Ross on the bench with three fouls.

Chicago State led 42-40 early in the fourth until the Redhawks scored 16 straight, with Shaylin Heredia and Ashlyn Lewey punctuating the streak with back-to-back three-pointers.

Ross led SU with 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Heredia finished with 12 and Best with nine. Masha Shtikel, a junior from Shorewood, had a team-high 11 rebounds.

Some good company
On Saturday, Joan Bonvicini became the 17th Division I women’s basketball coach to win at least 700 games. Where she ranks among active Division I women’s basketball coaches in career wins:
Coach Current school Record
1. Sylvia Hatchell North Carolina 973-345
2. Tara VanDerveer Stanford 965-220
3. C. Vivian Stringer Rutgers 963-355
4. Geno Auriemma UConn 930-134
5. Robin Selvig Montana 855-281
6. Jim Foster Chattanooga 852-320
7. Muffet McGraw Notre Dame 801-263
8. Gary Blair Texas A&M 707-286
9. Joey Foley Arkansas Little Rock 704-222
10. Joan Bonvicini Seattle U 700-409