Tucson, Ariz. ?- Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 600th career win on Thursday night with a 65-61 victory over Oregon State in McKale Center. She becomes the 18th coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 600 win milestone.
The win improves Arizona to 9-17 overall and 3-11 in the Pac-10, as Oregon State falls to 8-14 and 3-10 in the Pac-10.
“I’m happy and relieved to be at 600 wins,” Bonvicini said. “I’m very pleased to share it with the team and staff. I have been fortunate to have great players and great coaches. I’m thankful for my family because they have always been behind me and that is as important as anything.”
Bonvicini has spent 16 of her 28 years as a head coach at Arizona where she is the school’s all-time winningest coach with 275 victories. Her career record is 600-270 (.690)
The Wildcats overcame a 34-30 halftime deficit by shooting 52.0 percent (13-25) from the field in the second half.
Individually for Arizona, senior Joy Hollingsworth scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and junior Ashley Whisonant added 15 points and six assists. Junior Jessica Arnold chipped in with 10 points.
Senior Casey Nash led Oregon State with 15 points.
Arizona and Oregon State played close in the first half, with Oregon State breaking an early 8-8 tie on a three by Jasmine Smith to go up 11-8 at the 15:06 mark. Arizona would trail the rest of the first half, but cut the lead to one point six times, and trailed 26-25 on a layup by Whisonant with 4:06 left in the first. A lay in by Nash extended the Beaver lead to 34-27 at the 1:40 mark, but a three by Hollingsworth with 1:22 left in the first cut the deficit to 34-30 going into halftime. Oregon State shot 52.2 percent (12-23) from the field in the first, and held Arizona to a 44.8 percent (13-29) mark.
The Wildcats kept close with the Beavers at the beginning of the second half, and tied the game at 42-42 on a layup by Hollingsworth with 9:53 left to play. Two free throws by Amina Njonkou at the 9:59 mark gave the Wildcats their first lead since the 17:30 mark in the first. Arizona pulled away from Oregon State down the stretch, as a lay in by Njonkou gave the Wildcats a 63-57 lead with 1:33 left in the game.
Arizona will next host Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.