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Kate Martin puts up a career-high in her first start for the Aces

On3 imageby:Kyle Huesmann06/10/24


When Kate Martin was selected by the Las Vegas Aces with the 18th pick in the draft back in April, she was just grateful to get an opportunity with the back-to-back league champs. Fast forward to Monday night and she heard her name called by the public address announcer at Arena as starter for the Aces. With Jackie Young out of the lineup due to an illness, the former Hawkeye was able to make her first career start.

If you want an idea of how well liked Kate is across the country, it was a road game, 1,900 miles from her home town and in a state she had never visited. Still, Kate received a warm welcome from the Los Angeles Sparks home crowd.

“This girl is universal. Every city,” said head coach Becky Hammon after the game.

“I’ve never even been to California in my life, so no, I didn’t expect that and I never expect anything really,” said Martin. “I had no expectations coming into the league and I think that’s what’s been so fun. I got an opportunity and I made the best team in the world and it’s just been a lot of fun…I appreciate all of the fan support. It makes it fun, it makes it cool, but no, I wasn’t expecting that.”

Kate finished with a season-high 13 points, four rebounds and three assists in the Aces 96-92 loss to the Sparks. She was 5/7 from the floor and knocked down all three three-pointers that she attempted. Through eight games, Martin is averaging 5.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 21.1 minutes per game. She is currently second in the WNBA in minutes per game off the bench (21.1 per game).

“I honestly tried not to think too much about it,” said Martin on how she approached her first career start. “Didn’t mean my job was going to change, my role was going to change, I’m just going to be the same. Bring energy, come in and give my best effort and that’s all I was really focused on.”

The Aces jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but the Sparks went on a 30-14 run to take their first lead of the game midway through the second quarter. Late in the first half, it was Kate Martin that gave the Aces a boost on the offensive end to take a lead going into the break. She drove to the hoop for a basket and then buried a right wing three-pointer to give Las Vegas a 44-43 lead at halftime.

The Sparks outscored the Aces 31-21 in the third quarter and then held on the final minutes to pick up a 96-92 come from behind win. The back-to-back WNBA champion Aces now have a 5-4 record after nine games. With just under a quarter of the regulars season completed, LV sits two games behind Minnesota for first place in the Western Conference.

“We’re going to get everybody’s best shot every single night. Every single night, to us, it’s a playoff game because we’re going to get everyone’s A game,” said star forward A’ja Wilson. “I love it particulary for Kate to be in this situation, so when October rolls around, it’s not a punch in the face. It’s familiar, you’ve been in the trenches.”

Up next, the Aces will travel to Arizona for a matchup against the Phoenix Mercury on Thursday, before returning home to Michelob Ultra Arena for a highly-anticipated game against the New York Liberty.

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