Seniors Megan Gustafson, left, and Tania Davis, center, describe their differing paths during their time at Iowa. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
Iowa’s Megan Gustafson continues to make award-winning history.
On Thursday, she became the first player in Big Ten Conference history to be named the Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year.
In a heart-warming reveal, the AP tweeted a video taken in Iowa City of Gustafson opening a letter and reading it aloud.
“Your coaches wanted to let you know that you’ve been named the AP player of the year,” she reads, through amazement. “What???”
Gustafson thought she was merely opening mail from fans, which was why the news caught her by surprise. Coach Lisa Bluder and her assistants surrounded Gustafson after she learned of the honor, just one in the long line of many.
Later Thursday, she was named the recipient of the Lisa Leslie Award — given to the nation's top center.
The incredible Hawkeye senior led the nation by averaging 27.8 points per game while setting an NCAA record with 412 made field goals. She also led all players with 69.7% field-goal shooting and ranked third with 13.4 rebounds per game. As a team, Iowa tied a program record with 29 wins and reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 1993.
Gustafson is at the Final Four in Tampa, Florida, where more awards are being handed out this week. She's already won the espnW national player of the year and was a first-team AP All-American, and she's a finalist for the Naismith Trophy (which will be announced Saturday) and the Wooden Award. But it wasn't a clean Gustafson sweep Thursday — Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu beat her out for the Wade Trophy, another prominent player-of-the-year award.
The 6-foot-3 center from Port Wing, Wisconsin, got 15 of the 28 votes from the AP national panel. Ionescu (seven votes), Napheesa Collier of Connecticut (three), Asia Durr of Louisville (two) and Teaira McCowan of Mississippi State (one) were also in the running for the honor, which was first awarded in 1995.
Of note: Bluder was given one vote in the AP coach of the year ballot. Baylor's Kim Mulkey won that award.