Iowa women's basketball: Megan Gustafson repeats as Big Ten player of the year

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

When it comes to contextualizing Megan Gustafson’s dominance, Lisa Bluder is out of answers.

“What do I even say about Megan anymore?” the Iowa women’s basketball coach said at a recent news conference. “You can’t even describe the kid.”

The legacy continued growing Monday, when Gustafson was named the Big Ten’s player of the year for a second straight season. After having to split the award with Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell last year (Gustafson won the media vote, while Mitchell got the coaches' vote), there were no technicalities this time around.

Gustafson's selection was unanimous.

Iowa's decorated senior was also named to the all-defensive team and was a consensus first-team all-Big Ten selection. Teammate Kathleen Doyle was named to the first team by the coaches and the second team by the media. Tania Davis was selected as an honorable mention.   

Iowa center Megan Gustafson (10) waves to fans while heading to the bench on senior day during a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball game on Sunday, March 3, 2019, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

Few believed that Gustafson could replicate her junior all-American season. All she did was match it — and then some.

Through Sunday, Gustafson leads the country in scoring (27.4 points per game) and field-goal percentage (70.4 percent), while ranking fourth nationally in rebounding (13.1 boards per game). She picked up her 82nd career double-double in Sunday’s win over Northwestern. That figure ranks sixth all-time.

Then there’s the recognition. Gustafson has turned the Big Ten player of the week into a joke, winning the award 13 out of 17 times this year. She’s been named the conference’s player of the week 23 times in her career — also a Big Ten record.

Gustafson has been named the national player of the week several times by various outlets. She also is a finalist for the Naismith defensive player of the year, the Lisa Leslie Award and the Senior CLASS Award.


After snapping the school’s career scoring record — both men and women — against Michigan State in December, it became even clearer that Gustafson is likely to go down as Iowa’s most dominant basketball player in program history. She’s done it all with lots of smiles and without an ego.

“We’ve had players who’ve been low maintenance,” Bluder said. “Megan has been absolutely no maintenance.

“We have had to do nothing to motivate her, nothing to get her to work hard, nothing. She has given us zero issues since she’s been on our campus. That’s absolutely amazing. She’s just an incredible human being and teammate. She can conquer the world. I really believe that.”    

Gustafson and the No. 11 Hawkeyes will look to keep this special year going in the postseason. As the No. 2 seed, Iowa opens the Big Ten Tournament Friday against either Minnesota or Indiana.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.