Iowa Women's Basketball

Should Iowa retire Megan Gustafson's No. 10? "Oh, goodness, yes," says Lisa Bluder

Iowa coach sees little 'push-back' from Gary Barta in honoring Gustafson

Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (10) receives commemorative balls for career scoring and career rebounds from Coach Lisa Bluder before a game Jan. 3. Bluder believes Gustafson’s number should be retired; currently, only Michelle Edwards (1984-88) has been so honored. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (10) receives commemorative balls for career scoring and career rebounds from Coach Lisa Bluder before a game Jan. 3. Bluder believes Gustafson’s number should be retired; currently, only Michelle Edwards (1984-88) has been so honored. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — At some point this week, Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder has (or perhaps, had) a meeting with athletics director Gary Barta.

On the agenda is Megan Gustafson. More specifically, her jersey number and its potential retirement.

Bluder is all for it — “Oh, goodness, yes,” she said in a phone interview last week — and she expects Barta to be on board.

“I can’t imagine there’s going to be any push-back from him,” Bluder said. “I think it's something that needs to be done, and needs to be done soon.”

Only one Iowa women’s basketball player has had her number retired. Michelle Edwards’ No. 30 was immortalized after she graduated in 1988.

Gustafson’s No. 10 would — and Bluder said, should — be the second.

“She led the country in scoring and field-goal percentage last year, and she might do it again,” Bluder said. “We hope she is going to be an All-American again. It’s very similar to what (Edwards) did.”

Through 20 games (the 12th-ranked Hawkeyes are 16-4 overall, 7-2 in the Big Ten heading into Thursday’s game at Michigan, with a 5 p.m. tipoff at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.), Gustafson — a 6-foot-3 senior post — is No. 1 nationally in points per game (26.4) and double-doubles (19), No. 3 in field-goal percentage (.699) and fourth in rebounds per game (12.9).

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She is Iowa’s career leader in points (2,331) and rebounds (1,236). She is fourth in blocked shots (201).

Currently, 10 women in NCAA Division-I history have accumulated more than 2,600 points and more than 1,350 rebounds in their careers.

If Gustafson maintains her current pace, she will finish with 2,621 and 1,378, and that’s a conservative estimate, assuming no more than one game in either the Big Ten tournament or the NCAA Tournament.

Statistically, nobody in Iowa history compares. The only mark against Gustafson is this — in her career, the Hawkeyes have not won a game in the NCAA Tournament.

If Gustafson’s number is retired, when?

The most logical idea is to do it as part of Senior Day, March 3 against Northwestern.

“I’d love to do it then,” Bluder said. “I just don’t want to take away from Tania (Davis) and Hannah (Stewart, the other two Iowa seniors).

To do it as part of the postseason banquet is a possibility, but that wouldn’t be in front of the Iowa fans.

The Hawkeyes are on pace to earn a top-four seed for the NCAA Tournament, and top-four seeds host first-and second-round games.

But to honor Gustafson at that time probably would be nixed by the NCAA, and would be an awkward distraction anyway.

Next season? Gustafson most likely will be playing overseas.

So that brings us back to the Northwestern game, and Bluder had an idea.

“We could honor Megan before the game, and all of our seniors afterward,” she said.

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

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