Iowa Women's Basketball

Megan Gustafson goes to Dallas Wings in WNBA Draft second round

'I'm going to use anything I can for motivation,' she says after sliding to the No. 17 pick

Iowa’s Megan Gustafson reaches for a pass during a drill at practice March 29. Gustafson was chosen by the Dallas Wings in the second round of the WNBA Draft on Wednesday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa’s Megan Gustafson reaches for a pass during a drill at practice March 29. Gustafson was chosen by the Dallas Wings in the second round of the WNBA Draft on Wednesday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Megan Gustafson didn’t necessarily feel slighted at the WNBA Draft.

Galvanized? For sure.

“I’m going to use anything I can for motivation,” Gustafson said after being drafted by the Dallas Wings in the second round Wednesday, which was lower than expected.

The Naismith Award winner — and the national collegiate women’s basketball player of the year by the Associated Press and ESPN — Gustafson was the 17th player picked. Most mock drafts had her between 10th and 12th, which would have been late in the first round.

“What people are worried about, her ability to take her game away from the hoop, there’s no doubt in my mind she’s going to do that,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. “She’s going to tackle that.”

Gustafson becomes the 13th Hawkeye to be drafted, the first since point guard Samantha Logic went No. 10 to the Atlanta Dream in 2015.

A 6-foot-3 post from Port Wing, Wis., Gustafson led the Hawkeyes (29-7) to a Big Ten tournament championship and to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993.

She became the fourth player in NCAA history to tally 1,000 points in a season, finishing with 1,001. She led the nation each of the past two seasons in scoring (27.8 points per game in 2018-19) and field-goal percentage (.696). She tied an NCAA record with 33 double-doubles.

“She’s arguably the most relentless player in the country this season, not only in her rebounding ability but just in asking for the basketball,” ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson said after Gustafson was selected. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a post player with this level of mobility.”

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Gustafson’s final Iowa career numbers are 2,804 points, 1,460 rebounds and 88 double-doubles. She joins a roster that already had five players at 6-foot-3 or taller.

“Here’s the good news for Megan Gustafson: She’s not going to get double- and triple-teamed or quadruple-teamed when she gets to the WNBA,” ESPN analyst Kara Lawson said. “The bad news is that the amount of length that she’s going to see at the post position I think is gonna be an adjustment for her.

“She won’t all the time be able to just catch, turn and score, which we saw so often at Iowa and she was able to do it either way. But this is a productive player and certain things translate. Rebounding does, she does that at a high level, and she’s certainly efficient.”

Gustafson’s focus as a professional, she said, is “to work on extending my range and improve my face-up game.

“In the short term, I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can to help out the team. Long term? We’ll find out.”

Dallas was 15-19 last season and reached the playoffs. The Wings were eliminated in the first round.

The WNBA regular season tips off May 24 and runs through Sept. 8.

Training camp begins in early May.

Jackie Young, a junior from Notre Dame who is departing college a year early, was the No. 1 selection by the Las Vegas Aces.

Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame was Dallas’ first selection, at No. 5 overall.

WNBA Draft: First round

1. Las Vegas Aces — Jackie Young, Notre Dame

2. New York Liberty — Asia Durr, Louisville

3. Indiana Fever — Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State

4. Chicago Sky — Katie Lou Samuelson, Connecticut

5. Dallas Wings — Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame

6. Minnesota Lynx — Napheesa Collier, Connecticut

7. Los Angeles Sparks — Kalani Brown, Baylor

8. Phoenix Mercury — Alanna Smith, Stanford

9. Connecticut Sun — Kristine Anigwe, California

10. Washington Mystics — Kiara Leslie, North Carolina State

11. Atlanta Dream — Brianna Turner, Notre Dame

12. Seattle Storm — Ezi Magbegor, Australia

Hawkeyes in WNBA Draft

2019 — Megan Gustafson, Dallas, 2nd round, 17th pick

2015 — Samantha Logic, Atlanta, 1st round, 10th pick

2006 — Crystal Smith, Phoenix, 3rd round, 32nd pick

2002 — Lindsey Meder, Minnesota, 3rd round, 38th pick

2001 — Cara Consuegra, Utah, 4th round, 56th pick

1999 — Amy Herrig, Sacramento, 4th round, 38th pick

1998 — Tangela Smith, Sacramento, 2nd round, 12th pick

1998 — Nadine Domond, New York, 2nd round, 19th pick

1998 — Angela Hamblin, Washington, 3rd round, 23rd pick

1997 — Toni Foster, Phoenix, 1st round, 8th pick

1997 — Tia Jackson, Phoenix, 2nd round, 9th pick

1997 — Michelle Edwards, Cleveland, player allocation

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

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