The women’s Iowa basketball just put together their best season in nearly thirty years. Yesterday, the Hawks swept the Naismith awards to finish the season.
The 2018-2019 college basketball season was quite a ride for the women’s Iowa basketball team. After finishing in second place in the Big Ten, the women went on a fantastic run in the conference tournament securing the women’s Big Ten Conference Championship for the first time in 18 years with a dominating victory over a top-ten ranked Maryland 90-76.
When Lisa Bluder’s squad got to the NCAA tournament as the #2 seed, they weren’t ready to make it a short visit. The women struggled to put away #15 seed Mercer before taking down #7 seed Missouri pretty easily in their final game in Iowa City for the season.
Just a week later, the women made #3 NC State look silly as they quickly got out to a hot start and won easily. It wasn’t until the Iowa basketball team met a ridiculously tall Baylor team (one that is playing for the national championship today as a matter of fact), that their incredible run ended.
It ended the best run the women’s basketball team has made since 1993 (where they went to the Final Four), and it ended the career of the greatest women’s basketball player of all time, Megan Gustafson.
Since that game, Gustafson has been racking up the awards, which David Eickholt of 247 Sports summed up quite nicely in a tweet.
We can now officially add Naismith National Player of the Year to the list capping off one of the greatest seasons in now just Iowa basketball history but also women’s college basketball history in general.
In the press release from the NCAA, Megan Gustafson was quoted saying this:
"I am so honored to be able to receive the Naismith Player of the Year. I have worked extremely hard during my four years at Iowa, and honestly, I couldn’t have achieved all that I have without my support system. That system includes my coaches who have pushed me to be the best player and more importantly the best person I could be."
In addition to Gustafson taking home National Player of the Year honors, her head coach Lisa Bluder took him some hardware as well.
For the first time in Bluder’s storied career, she is the Naismith National Coach of the Year. Interestingly enough, the advancement to the Elite Eight likely sealed the deal for the head coach as we said it could a month ago when she named a semifinalist.
It is just the tenth time a player/coach duo has swept the Naismith Award in its’ history.
Personally, I think this is an incredibly cool moment in Iowa basketball history. The fact that the Hawkeyes managed to break through to the mainstream audience is quite impressive. More often than not, these types of awards are commonly reserved for the Notre Dames and UConn’s of the world.
Furthermore, I cannot be more thankful that this award didn’t go to Baylor’s Kim Mulkey who continually handled herself in such a poor manner before and after the game versus the Iowa basketball team.
This season will be one to remember for years to come, and we may never see another player like Megan Gustafson walk through the doors at Carver-Hawkeye Arena again, but as we said earlier, their legacy will live on in Iowa basketball history.