Gustafson led the nation in scoring for the second consecutive season and is the first player from the school and the Big Ten to win the award.
“She’s an amazing young woman who left an incredible legacy at this school,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
The 6-foot-3 star received 15 votes Thursday from the 28-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP rankings. Balloting was done before the NCAA tournament.
The Iowa staff surprised Gustafson that she had won the award by slipping in a note while she was reading letters from fans.
“I was not expecting it at all. I love my coaches, and they’ve been so supportive of me,” Gustafson said. “It’s been an incredible ride. I’m in a little bit in shock right now, really excited to have represented Iowa.”
Gustafson averaged 27.9 points per game and helped the Hawkeyes reach the Elite Eight for the first time since 1993. She became only the fourth Division I player to score more than 1,000 points in a season, set an NCAA record with 412 field goals and tied the NCAA mark for double-doubles in a season with 33. She shot 69.7 percent from the field this season and finished her career by making nearly 66 percent of her shots.