By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Megan Gustafson is closing in on University of Iowa women’s basketball season records in points, rebounds, field goals, and free throws.
She shrugs at the mention of individual marks like she shrugs an impending triple team in the low post. With everything Gustafson has accomplished in two-plus years as a Hawkeye, perhaps her greatest attribute is humbleness.
Question: Megan, are you aware that several school records are within reach Sunday when the Hawkeyes host your home-state Wisconsin Badgers?
Answer: “Not really, to be honest. Maybe points in a season? I don’t know if I’m close to that. Rebounds, maybe?”
Yes and yes.
“That is not my primary focus,” Gustafson continued. “Right now it is keeping the wins coming.”
Iowa (20-6 overall, 8-5 in the Big Ten) has won four straight games and five of its last six. In 26 games, Gustafson has scored 646 points with 333 rebounds, 251 field goals, and 144 free throws. She leads every NCAA Division I women’s basketball player in field goals and scoring — averaging 24.8 points per game. Gustafson is second with 24 double-doubles, third with a 66.2 field goal percentage, and fifth with 12.8 rebounds per game.
She is almost embarrassed to mention personal accomplishments, but she won’t stop chatting about what her and her teammates have accomplished.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want to take away from anything my team has done,” Gustafson said. “We have been doing amazing things this season; we already have 20 wins with games still to play, so that’s exciting. That’s my focus right now.”
Iowa fans have two more chances to watch Gustafson and the Hawkeyes in person this season inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The first is Sunday against Wisconsin at 2 p.m. (CT), the other is Saturday, Feb. 24, against Indiana at 11 a.m.
Here are milestones within Gustafson’s reach: she is 26 points from tying Cindy Haugejorde’s season record of 672 points set in 1979-80.
She is 10 rebounds from tying her own record of 343 set last season.
She is four free throws from tying Kachine Alexander’s record of 148 set in 2010-11.
She is 32 field goals from tying Haugejorde’s record of 283 set in 1979-80.
Good luck getting Gustafson to gloat about those marks. But if you want to see her face light up, ask about a potential berth in the NCAA Tournament. In her first two seasons, Gustafson has played in five WNIT games and zero NCAA games.
“That is a huge, exciting goal for me and the whole team,” Gustafson said. “I have never been able to go and I have heard again and again and again about how amazing it is and what the atmosphere is like. That is something I want to do this year and I think everyone else has the same attitude.”
The next step is against Wisconsin (9-18, 2-12). Gustafson is from Port Wing, Wisconsin, and was recruited by the Badgers. In three career games against Wisconsin (all Iowa wins), Gustafson has averaged 15.7 points and 11.7 rebounds. During a 56-46 victory on Dec. 28 in Madison, Wisconsin, Gustafson scored 21 points with 16 rebounds.
“We’re a much better team right now,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our team is at a good spot mentally and we’re ready to take on Wisconsin.”
The scary thing? Gustafson is improving, too.
“She is getting better,” Bluder said. “She is better now than she was in October and November.”