IOWA CITY — Megan Gustafson, officially, is the Big Ten’s best.
The winner of a record nine player of the week honors and the scoring leader all season, Gustafson was named the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year by the media on Monday, the league announced.
Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell was tabbed player of the year by the coaches.
“This means a lot,” Gustafson said in a release from Iowa. “I’ve put in so much work the past three years at Iowa, but at the end of the day I’ve had amazing support here. My teammates, my coaches and the support staff have all been amazing.
“I’m just really excited to keep this going.”
Gustafson also was a unanimous first-team all-Big Ten selection (coaches & media). Sophomore Kathleen Doyle earned second team all-Big Ten honors from the coaches and honorable mention accolades from the media — the first honors of her career. Junior Hannah Stewart was selected as Iowa’s Sportsmanship Award honoree.
A junior from Port Wing, Wis., Gustafson finished the regular season ranked in the top-5 nationally in eight statistical categories.
She leads the nation in points per game (25.3), total points (734) and field goals made (285), is second in field goal percentage (66.7) and double-doubles (26), third in rebounds (370) and fifth in rebounds per game (12.8) and defensive rebounds per game (9).
She is just the fifth Hawkeye in program history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, the first since Tangela Smith in 1998. Michelle Edwards (1988), Franthea Price (1990) and Toni Foster (1993) also won the honor. Gustafson is the only Hawkeye to earn the award as a junior.
“It’s exciting to be able to be compared to the greats that have come here.” Gustafson said. “It’s a dream come to play the sport that I love with the people I love.”
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In 16 conference contests this season, Gustafson averaged 27.7 points (first in Big Ten), 13.1 rebounds (second) and shot a Big Ten-best 64.7 percent from the field. Gustafson registered 20 or more points in 15 of Iowa’s 16 conference games and grabbed 10 or more rebounds 14 times.
Gustafson has rewritten the Iowa record books this season, breaking single-season records for points (734), rebounds (370), field goals made (285), free throws made (164), free throws attempted (204) and double-doubles (26). Gustafson also broke Iowa’s program record for double-doubles in a career (53).
Gustafson also was named Big Ten player of the week by the conference and College Sports Madness on Monday. It was her record ninth player of the week honor from the Big Ten. She averaged 31.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and shot 71.4 percent from the field in a pair of Iowa wins last week.
The Hawkeyes open Big Ten tournament play on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday’s contest between 12th-seeded Northwestern and 13th-seeded Wisconsin.