IOWA CITY — Without question, Lisa Bluder believes Megan Gustafson deserves to have her jersey number retired.
However, the Iowa women’s basketball coach said Wednesday that won’t happen until Gustafson’s career with the Hawkeyes has ended.
"There will be a right time and right place, but that time won’t be during our season," Bluder said.
Bluder appreciates the sentiments expressed by some fans that it would be a fitting tribute to the All-American post player to have her number retired during ceremonies that accompany the Hawkeyes’ annual senior night.
Gustafson’s final regular-season home game as a Hawkeye is on March 3, and she will be one of three seniors honored during Iowa’s Big Ten finale against Northwestern.
"We have three great seniors, and Megan loves her teammates. I don’t think she would want to take away from the other players being honored that day," Bluder said. "Plus, I think we’re all hoping she will be playing in that uniform for a number of games after that date."
Bluder, whose 16th-ranked team hosts 23rd-rated Michigan State at 8 p.m. today, wants that team-first focus to continue as the Hawkeyes continue to compete for a Big Ten title and the chance to host opening-round games in the NCAA tourney.
"We have so much to play for right now, and that’s where our energies need to be," Bluder said.
Iowa has retired the number of only one player in the program’s history — the No. 30 worn by Michelle Edwards was retired in 1988 after she completed her career.
Bluder expects Gustafson’s No. 10 to follow shortly once her career is over.
Gustafson became the Hawkeyes’ career leader in scoring and rebounding earlier this season and is currently in the midst of leading the nation in scoring for the second straight season with an average of 26.6 points per game.
The Port Wing, Wisconsin, native currently ranks in the top six nationally in eight statistical categories.