Megan Gustafson, By The Numbers

By RossWB on April 5, 2019 at 10:58 am
the GOAT
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Megan Gustafson wrapped up one of the most incredible seasons in Iowa history with one of the most dominant seasons we've ever seen from an Iowa athlete -- in any sport. She's deservedly getting postseason awards by the bushel after that breathtaking campaign. So I thought it would be fun to take a moment and break down some of the numbers that show just how amazing this season (and her entire Iowa career) has been. 


Let's start here, at the top. Megan Gustafson scored 2,804 points in her four-year career at Iowa. That's a school record but just saying that doesn't really capture the full scope of that record. Ally Disterhoft was the previous record holder, with 2,102 points in her career. Gustafson broke that mark in December and finished with 700 more points than the previous record-holder. Disterhoft's 2,102 points is closer to Megan Skouby's 1,439 points (16th all-time in Iowa history) than it is Gustafson's 2,804 points. Gustafson's 2,804 points also rank fifth all-time in the Big Ten in scoring. 


Gustafson made 1,136 field goals during her Iowa career. Iowa's record books don't really track field goals made in women's basketball, but simple math tells us that she holds the record for most field goals made by a staggering margin as well. She ranks second in Big Ten history in field goals made, just six behind Ohio State's Jantel Lavender for the all-time record. In fact, if she had never made anything but her 1,135 two-point field goals in her Iowa career (she also made one three-pointer!), she would still be Iowa's all-time leading scorer, with 2,270 career points. 


But she did make free throws -- a lot of them. More than anyone else in Iowa history, in fact. Gustafson's 531 made free throws eclipse the previous record holder, Ally Disterhoft, who made 522 free throws during her Iowa career. 


Let's talk some more about the scoring display that Gustafson put up this year. Her 1,001 is, obviously, the most ever in Iowa history. It shatters the previous record of 823 points, which was set by Gustafson... last year. Before Gustafson, no Iowa player had ever scored more than Cindy Haugejorde's 672 points in 1980. Gustafson demolished that record last year... and then obliterated her own record this year. (Incidentally, the single season point record for Iowa men's basketball is 699 points, accomplished by John Johnson in the 1970 season.) Gustafson's 1,001-point season is also the Big Ten record, smashing the previous record of 914 set by Minnesota's Rachel Banham in 2016. 

The only other players in NCAA history to score more points than Gustafson in a single season are Baylor's Odyssey Sims (1,054 points in 2014), Southwest Missouri State's Jackie Stiles (1,062 points in 2001), and Washington's Kelsey Plum (1,109 points in 2017). 


When Banham scored 914 points in 2016 she also set the Big Ten record for field goal attempts, with 716. Megan Gustafson, who I would remind you just shattered Banham's single-season scoring record by almost 90 points, did so on 124 fewer field goal attempts. In fact, her 592 attempts this season don't even crack the all-time top 10 for most field goal attempts in a season in Big Ten history. 

No, Gustafson set the Big Ten scoring mark because of her incredible efficiency from the floor. This year Gustafson made a staggering (and very nice) 69.6% of her field goal attempts. Consider that: seven of every 10 shots that left Megan Gustafson's hands ended up going through the basket. That is a Big Ten record (Maryland's Brionna Jones set the previous record, with 69.0% in 2017), though it's not quite an NCAA record -- Myndee Kay Larsen set the NCAA record by making 72.4% of her shots in 1998, but she also set that record on almost 250 fewer attempts than Gustafson (344). For Gustafson to make that many buckets while attempting that many shots is truly remarkable. She was absolutely unstoppable in the low post. 


As you might expect from someone who has the best and third-best single-season marks in Big Ten history in field goal percentage (she made 67.1% of her field goals last year), Gustafson holds the Big Ten career record for field goal percentage as well. Brionna Jones was also the previous record holder there, with a 65.0% career mark. Like Larsen, though, Jones set that record while attempting significantly fewer field goals than Gustafson -- she took 1,236 shots in her career, 500 less than the 1,731 that Gustafson attempted.


Gustafson was also an all-time dominant force on the glass. Her 1,460 rebounds is, of course, an Iowa record. Haugejorde previously held the record with 1,067 career rebounds; Gustafson has now topped that by almost 400 boards. Haugejorde is now closer to Lisa Becker, 15th all-time in rebounds at Iowa (691) than she is Gustafson. 

Gustafson's 1,460 career rebounds is also a Big Ten record. Ohio State's Jantel Lavender was the previous record holder with 1,422 career rebounds. (It is still a long way off from the NCAA record for career rebounds, held by Oklahoma's Courtney Paris, who grabbed 2,034 rebounds, 14.8 per game, over the course of her career.)


And, oh yeah, Gustafson is also a single-season record holder when it comes to rebounds. Gustafson already had the single-season school record for rebounds with the 411 that she hauled in last year. She went and smashed that this year with 481 rebounds. She also smashed the Big Ten single-season record for rebounds, previously held by Minnesota's Amanda Zahui B with 426 rebounds. 


Gustafson finished her career with a stunning 88 double-doubles. That shattered the previous Big Ten career record for double-doubles, which was held by Ohio State's Jantel Lavender with 77 double-doubles. (The NCAA record is 128, held by Oklahoma's Courtney Paris.) Gustafson also crushed the Iowa record for double-doubles by men or women, previously held by Kevin Kunnert who had 48 double-doubles between 1971 and 1973. Gustafson bettered that number by, uh, 40 double-doubles. She ended her career with double-doubles in 65 of her final 75 games. 


Finally, Gustafson ended the season with 33 double-doubles (in 36 games), cruelly falling just one rebound short of getting one last double-double in her final game against Baylor. The 33 double-doubles this season is obviously a school record (and I assume it's also a Big Ten record, but I can't find confirmation of that at the moment). It also tied the NCAA record for a single season, currently held by Oklahoma's Courtney Paris (who had 33 in 2006 and 2007) and George Mason's Natalie Butler (who had 33 in 2018). It would have been a nice flourish on Gustafson's indelible career for her to set that NCAA record in her final game, but being a co-owner of the record isn't exactly too shabby, either. 

So yeah, the numbers don't lie: Megan Gustafson's senior season -- and entire Iowa career -- were absolutely amazing and the sort of production that we may never see again. Take a bow, Megan. 

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