Donna Abbott Obituary West Virginia University Basketball Hall of Famer dies at 52
- by Alex Danvers
Donna Abbott Obituary, Death – In the history of women’s basketball at West Virginia University, one of the greatest players ever has passed away. Donna Abbott, a two-time all-state performer who helped Huntington East High win the state championship in 1987 and was a star for the Mountaineers from 1989 to 1992, passed away Friday night in Huntington. She was one of the seven high school basketball players from West Virginia who played for the state’s first two NCAA Tournament teams in 1989 and 1992, a time when the state’s top prospects were leaving for other states.
Mary Ostrowski of Parkersburg Catholic and Amy Gamble of John Marshall decided to play for Tennessee, while Susan Robinson of Doddridge County High School went on to play for Penn State and earn All-American honors, and Vicky Bullett of Martinsburg High School was one of Maryland’s all-time greats. Abbott received invitations to leave the region as well. She said from years ago, “I got a lot of letters from other institutions that I just didn’t answer. I really wanted to remain nearby so that my folks could watch me play.
Although Marshall was “close to home” for Donna, her top priority was to play for the university named after her home state. In 1989, Abbott played right away at forward for West Virginia’s squad that upset St. Joseph’s and Temple, stunned Penn State in Rec Hall, won the Atlantic 10 tournament, and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. With the help of Abbott’s 19 points and 11 rebounds, WVU defeated Western Kentucky, which was ranked 19th, in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round before losing to Virginia, which was led by All-American player Dawn Staley, four days later.
Also during that season, Donna scored a career-high 37 points in WVU’s 84-68 loss against St. Joseph’s. The Mountaineers’ success continued over the course of the following two seasons, with Abbott and classmate Rosemary Kosiorek serving as the team’s captains. Donna averaged a career-high 17.3 points per game as a sophomore in 1990 and 15.8 as a junior in 1991.
Abbott and Kosiorek, who went on to become the school’s first All-American players, were regarded as equals at that time in their basketball careers and were both receiving significant promotions for regional and national honors. However, before their senior year in 1992, it was decided to focus more on marketing the charismatic Kosiorek, which Donna didn’t mind at all. Abbott was a modest, soft-spoken team member who was tough and selfless. She preferred to play a supporting role to Kosiorek since she was at ease doing so.
Abbott averaged 14.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for WVU’s championship basketball team in 1992 while playing through a persistent knee condition that necessitated her to wear ice bags anytime she wasn’t playing. The Mountaineers lost at second-ranked Virginia and lost by one point at 13th-ranked Western Kentucky before winning their next 22 games and entering the national rankings for the first time in school history after defeating Marshall by 16 points on January 22, 1992. Abbott delivered 15 points and 8 rebounds to WVU’s remarkable 21-point home victory over Arkansas, which marked the team’s first appearance in the polls.
One of only three players in school history to score more than 1,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds, she finished her stellar career with 1,656 points and 1,020 rebounds.
Her career scoring average of 15.3 points per game places her ninth in school history. Abbott was selected for the All-Atlantic 10 team three times, and in 1992, her senior year, she was named to the first team. Due to her deteriorating health, Donna had to deliver her acceptance speech through Zoom when she was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Donna Abbott Obituary, Death – In the history of women’s basketball at West Virginia University, one of the greatest players ever has passed away. Donna Abbott, a two-time all-state performer who helped Huntington East High win the state championship in 1987 and was a star for the Mountaineers from 1989 to 1992, passed away Friday…