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Megan Gustafson is all smiles after it was announced her jersey will be retired. Dargan Southard, msouthard@gannett.com

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IOWA CITY, Ia. — Her career in Iowa City has ended, but Megan Gustafson’s legacy continues to grow.

Gustafson was announced as the Big Ten Conference’s female athlete of the year on Wednesday. She is the first Hawkeye to win the award since Kristy Gleason (field hockey) in 1994. Gustafson is the eighth Big Ten basketball student-athlete to claim the honor.  

Gustafson averaged 27.8 points to leading the nation for a second straight year. She tallied 13.4 rebounds per game (third in the country) while shooting an NCAA-best 69.7% and setting an NCAA record for field goals in a season (412). Her 33 double-doubles tied an NCAA record, and the Hawkeyes won 29 games and reached the Elite Eight.

CHAD LEISTIKOW: Gustafson's legacy goes beyond sheer numbers

Gustafson and Penn State’s Bo Nickal — the conference’s male athlete of the year — were among a field of nominees that included 11 national champions, 25 All-Americans, 16 Big Ten champions, 14 individuals who won Big Ten player-of-the-year honors, and six who collected a national player-of-the-year accolade.

The conference has recognized a Jesse Owens male athlete of the year since 1982 and first honored a female athlete of the year in 1983. The awards are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.

It’s been a busy stretch for Gustafson since here Hawkeye career ended. She was drafted, cut and then re-signed by the WNBA’s Dallas Wings. Through Wednesday, Gustafson is averaging 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds while playing about 10 minutes per game.

WNBA:Gustafson in midst of second tenure with Dallas Wings

Her offseason plans are solidified as well. KOYER Management — a FIBA-certified sports agency — announced Monday that Gustafson will start her overseas career with NKE Csata in Hungary. She’ll head there after the WNBA season ends.  

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

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