Joanna Bernabei

Joanna  Bernabei Joanna Bernabei (Weirton Madonna High School, Class of 1993). This former Lady Blue Don was one of the most prolific and unselfish basketball players from the Ohio Valley.

Bernabei helped to guide the Lady Blue Dons to three straight state tournament appearances and, during her senior season of 1992, Madonna brought home the school’s second state championship with a brilliant 24-2 record.

During that 1992 campaign, Bernabei averaged 17.5 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals per game while surpassing the 1,000-point mark. All told, she finished her prep career with 1,002 points and more than 500 career assists.
After her senior season, Bernabei was named captain of the West Virginia Class A All-State team and captain of the OVAC Class A-AA West Virginia team when basketball was a fall sport. She also competed in both the OVAC and North-South all-star games. All told, Bernabei was a three-time all-stater. She was a second team choice as a sophomore and a first team selection as a junior.

While basketball was where Bernabei made her mark, she also excelled for Madonna in track and field as well as tennis, earning letters in each sport. In 1993, Bernabei brought two gold medals home from the West Virginia state track meet. She was a part of the winning 4x200-meter relay as well as the winning shuttle hurdle relay. She ran a leg on the state runner-up 4x100-meter relay team. During the 1992 tennis season, Bernabei was a part of an OVAC-winning doubles team in tennis.

Bernabei completed her degree in 1997 from West Liberty State College. During her career with the Lady Hilltoppers, she scored 1,317 points and finished with 1,107 assists, which is the NCAA Division II record. During her senior season, Bernabei was named WVIAC Player of the Year and Division II All-American after helping to lead WLSC to a NCAA Tournament appearance. She was named first team all-conference in the WVIAC all four years and was inducted to the West Liberty Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Bernabei entered the coaching ranks at West Virginia Wesleyan. She was there for a year and has also worked at Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and the University of Maryland where she won a national championship ring as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
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