Iowa Women's Basketball

Iowa retires Megan Gustafson's No. 10 jersey

Nearly 1,000 honor the Hawkeyes' Elite Eight team one last time

IOWA CITY — It’s official: No. 10 is off limits.

“I had no idea at all that this was coming,” Megan Gustafson said Wednesday night, shortly after University of Iowa athletics director Gary Barta declared that Gustafson’s number has been retired.

“This is so special. This university means so much to me. To be recognized that way, it’s the ultimate goal of any basketball player.”

Barta’s announcement was the highlight of “Celebr-EIGHT,” a season curtain call for the Iowa women’s basketball team in front of nearly 1,000 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Gustafson’s postseason life has been a series of honors and airports. Tampa, St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles, Des Moines.

Next Thursday, she leaves for Dallas. Training camp for the WNBA’s Dallas Wings begins May 5.

“I still have to make the roster,” Gustafson said. “I’ve been staying in great shape. I’m going to battle for my career.”

At some point, probably at a game next season in which Gustafson can get back to Iowa City, the university will hold an official jersey-retirement ceremony. She is the second player in program history to be so honored, joining Michelle Edwards.

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More than three weeks have passed since the Hawkeyes’ season ended, but there’s still a buzz around the program, and Wednesday’s attendance was proof.

Iowa finished 29-7, capturing the Big Ten tournament championship in Indianapolis. The Hawkeyes reached the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, the program’s deepest run since 1993.

Gustafson and Coach Lisa Bluder swept the Naismith Awards, handed out Wednesday by Atlantic Tipoff Club executive director Eric Oberman. For Gustafson, the consensus national player of the year, it was just one of a series of high-level awards earned in the past month. She is the school record holder in points (2,804) and rebounds (1,460), both by a wide margin.

Gustafson hasn’t signed an overseas contract yet, but she announced that she will likely play for a team in Budapest, Hungary, next winter.

Hannah Stewart, meanwhile, has signed to play for the Lakeside Lightning, a franchise near Perth, Australia.

“I’ll be joining them midseason,” said Stewart, who will play a more perimeter-oriented role at the professional level. “They wanted a forward that can shoot, run the court and be a part of their ministry.”

Tania Davis said she “made a lot of connections” during Final Four weekend in Tampa, and has options to play overseas or perhaps land on a staff as a graduate assistant coach.

“We’ll just see where life takes me,” she said.

Gustafson, Stewart and Davis accounted for 62.5 percent of the Hawkeyes’ scoring last season. Iowa will have a new identity in 2019-20, to be sure.

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“We might be a different-looking team next year,” Bluder said. “But we’ll have the same culture. We’re still going to work hard. And we’re still going to have the same mentality.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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