By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93
This Day in Bonaventure History
February 14, 1994
St. Bonaventure University women’s basketball has had a long and interesting journey to Division I relevance. In fact, the program wasn’t even started until 1959.
From 1959-1971, the team was only a club sport. It began varsity play in 1971, competing against area teams such as Buffalo State College.
For the first seven years, the team was called either the “Squaws” or the “Lassies.” In 1966, the name was changed to “Bonnettes,” then to “Lady Bonnies” in 1979. Finally, the name was changed to “Bonnies” in 1993.
Mary Jane “MJ” Telford ’75 is credited with helping the Bonnies reach Division I. She played from 1971-1975, winning many awards and averaging 15 points per game. She took over as head coach of the program, and guided it from NAIA Division III to NCAA Division II, and then ultimately, NCAA Division I. It was under her watch that scholarships were given out for the first time.
She coached the team until 1993. She amassed 201 victories over her 17 seasons, which was the top figure in the programs history, and also ranked second among all Bonaventure basketball coaches, men or women.
For the last 20 years Telford has been working in either Admissions or University Relations.
After Telford, Marti Whitmore compiled a 85-110 record over seven seasons as head coach. He was replaced by Jim Crowley.
The program joined the Atlantic 10 in 1987, but it wasn’t until this day that the team defeated a ranked opponent. On Feb. 14, 1994, Suzie Dailer scored on a full court pass to defeat Rutgers.