Fans gather at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to honor the Iowa women's basketball team

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Megan Gustafson is all smiles during Wednesday's celebration at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Photo by Jeff Yoder

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Hawkeye fans came to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday to pay one last tribute to excellence.

The Iowa women's basketball team was honored during a ceremony that included Megan Gustafson having her jersey No. 10 officially retired.

“I was not expecting that,” Gustafson said. “It’s super special to celebrate my team and what we’ve been able to accomplish this year. This is something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. But again, I have to thank my teammates and my coaches. They have made me into the player and the person that I am.”

The 6-foot-3 Gustafson led Iowa to the Elite Eight this past season for just the fourth time in program history and to the Big Ten Tournament title.

She led the nation in scoring and in field-goal percentage and was named the national Player of the Year by the ESPNW and by the Associated Press. She also won the Naismith Award, which goes to the top player in the country.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder also was the recipient of the Naismith Award as the top women's coach in the country.

Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta announced near the end of the celebration, and to a loud ovation, that Gustafson's jersey would be retired.

Gustafson and fellow seniors Tania Davis and Hannah Stewart were the driving forces behind Iowa's success this season, and Wednesday's celebration gave fans one last chance to say thanks.

Hawkeye fans connected with this team and admired how well the players and coaches worked together.

Iowa hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in March and the two games drew more than 22,000 in attendance. That was by far the highest attendance for any of the sites that hosted the first two rounds. 

Gustafson was clearly the star this past season, which ended with a loss to eventual national champion Baylor in the Elite Eight, but she was hardly a solo act.

And now she starts to prepare for the next chapter in her life after being selected by the Dallas Wings in the second round of the WNBA Draft.

Gustafson and her Hawkeye teammates will have memories to cherish forever, including Wednesday's celebration.