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Kate Martin shines in Aces win over Indiana

On3 imageby:Kyle Huesmann05/25/24


After sharing the court as teammates at Iowa for 139 games, former Hawkeyes Kate Martin and Caitlin Clark went head-to-head for the first time as WNBA players on Saturday night. Prior to the Indiana Fever and Las Vegas Aces facing off at Michelob Ultra Arena, the two shared a moment on the court during pregame shootaround.

Caitlin spoke highly of her former teammate in the Fever’s pregame press conference saying, “I’m just really happy for her and everything Coach Hammon says about her is so true. Every person that played at Iowa and was around her knows that to be true. She’s the ultimate teammate, ultimate person, ultimate leader.”

With 2:40 to play in the first quarter, Kate Martin made her way to the scorers table to check in. Moments later, Caitlin Clark joined her near halfcourt after taking her first break of the game. When the two checked in, they joined Megan Gustafson on the court to make it three former Hawkeyes on the floor at once.

“It’s super special. It’s cool for our program, cool for Lisa, for Coach Jan, for all of them,” said Clark. “They’ve known me since I’ve been 13 years old and now I’m 22 getting to live out my dream and they’ve been a huge part of that and helping me get here and helping Megan and Kate to get here too. It’s a great moment for them and I’m sure they’re not complaining about a trip to Vegas.”

“It was weird, I’m not going to lie,” said Martin on facing off against Caitlin for the first time as pros. “Looking out on the court and seeing her in a different jersey than me, it was obviously different. It’s really fun, we’re both living out our dream right now and we both get to compete at the highest level, so we’re both really grateful for that opportunity.”

The Fever led by as many as six points early in the second quarter, but fatigue set in playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Aces outscored Indiana 20-6 to end the first half and went on to win the game 99-80.

Caitlin Clark finished with eight points on just 2/8 shooting, as well as five rebounds and seven assists. As for Kate Martin, she totaled a 12 points and seven rebounds over 22 minutes on the floor. In the fourth quarter, Martin knocked down her second three-pointer of the game and then on the next possession pulled down an offensive rebounds, which later led to driving basket, plus the foul. The Iowa coaching staff enjoyed the moment from their courtside seats.

“It’s really cool when your former college coaches are sitting courtside right next to the bench,” said Martin. “Las Vegas has a fun environment here and it’s really fun to be apart of. I’m really grateful to be apart of this organization…it’s really cool that a lot of Hawkeye nation could come out tonight.”

After averaging just 7.7 points per game at Iowa in the 2022-23 season, Kate opted to return for her sixth year. She averaged 13.1 points and 6.8 rebouds per game, while scoring in double figures in 30 of 39 games. That was enough to earn her a shot in the pros, with the Las Vegas Aces selecting her with the 18th pick in the WNBA Draft. Over the last three years, just 17 of 72 (23.6%) players drafted in the second or third round ended up making the opening day roster. Despite the short odds, it is not surprising that Kate has not only made the Aces roster, but has carved out a role for herself.

“She just doesn’t make mistakes,” Aces head coach Becky Hammon said after Martin made her debut against the LA Sparks. “She executed our schemes really well… She plays so hard. Her sense of urgency has really been there the whole time.”

Up Next, the Aces will go on the road to play against the Minnesota Lynx in Minneapolis. The Target Center is an arena that Kate Martin knows well, having won a pair of Big Ten Tournament Titles there. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm CT on NBA TV.

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