Kate Martin Misses Caitlin Clark But Wants To Take Away Her Happiness By Wishing Defeat Against Las Vegas Aces

Kate Martin, the esteemed companion of Caitlin Clark, witnessed her friend’s ascent to stardom in women’s collegiate basketball over the past two years. Martin was present when her Iowa teammate, Clark, was selected as the first overall pick by Indiana in this year’s WNBA draft.

Ironically, Martin herself was drafted 18th overall by the reigning two-time champions, the Las Vegas Aces, on that very same night.

While Martin has had a front-row seat to Clark’s meteoric rise, the spotlight’s intensity pales in comparison to the scrutiny her best friend endures. This respite allows Martin to adapt to the professional ranks without every move being dissected.

“We’re not requiring her to come in and deliver 20 points and 10 rebounds,” remarked A’ja Wilson, the Aces’ two-time MVP. “That’s not what we need from her. We simply need her to bring that relentless energy and hard-working mentality she displayed in college.”

Martin and Clark Maintain Their Bond Despite Distance

Despite joining separate WNBA teams, Martin and Clark have maintained their close rapport. However, they have not reunited since parting ways after the draft, until now. On Saturday night, the Aces will host the Fever, reuniting the former teammates on the hardwood.

“I miss her immensely,” Martin confessed. “For the past four years, I spent every single day with her, and now it’s been nearly a month and a half since I last saw her. I’m elated to see her again, and obviously, it’s going to be an electrifying game. The atmosphere will be exhilarating.”

While Clark’s decision to declare for the WNBA draft on February 29th made her the presumptive first overall pick, Martin’s future was far from certain. She attended the draft in New York as Clark’s guest, hoping against hope that her name would be called.

Even after being drafted, there were no guarantees that Martin would secure a spot on the Aces’ roster. However, according to Coach Becky Hammon, Martin earned her place due to “her relentless work ethic, her competitiveness, and her basketball acumen.”

“She’s striving to carve out a role in our rotations, so she’s still learning our system,” Hammon explained. “She’s still adapting to our dos and don’ts, so she’ll have to learn on the fly. But what I admire about her is that I know exactly what I’m getting when I put her in the game. It’s going to be maximum effort, smart effort, and tenacious effort.”

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Despite her palpable on-court intensity, which has drawn praise from her All-Star Aces teammates, Martin did not place undue pressure on herself to make the team.

“I knew making this team would be an arduous task, so I approached it with an open mindset,” Martin stated. “I wanted to be a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as possible. After a few days, I started to gain confidence, thinking, ‘Maybe I could make this team.’ But I never let my hopes soar too high because you never know what might transpire in this league.”

Martin was eased into the season, sitting out the May 14th opener against the Phoenix Mercury, but made her debut four days later against the Los Angeles Sparks.

In that game, Martin drained her first career 3-pointer, grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists, and had one memorable block in 26 minutes. The rejection came against the Sparks’ 6-foot-7 center Li Yueru, with Martin surrendering 7 inches in height, eliciting a primal roar and chest bump from teammate Kelsey Plum.

“She knows how to play alongside superstars,” Hammon remarked. “That, in itself, is a skill set – understanding how to impact the game without ever shooting the ball. In that LA game, she scored three points, but she absolutely impacted our ability to win that game.”

Martin was self-critical of her performance in the subsequent game, where she missed all four of her shot attempts in 14 minutes, securing just two rebounds and no assists.

The loss to the Mercury was the Aces’ first defeat of the season – a stark contrast to their mere six regular-season losses the previous year. While Las Vegas’ problems extended far beyond Martin’s play, she is determined to bounce back.

Fittingly, that opportunity comes against Clark and the Fever.

“Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself, but I felt like I made a few mistakes,” Martin admitted regarding the Mercury loss. “It’s not easy. You don’t want to let anyone down. You don’t want to disappoint your teammates, so you really have to learn how to cope with that.

“Losing is inevitable, and I’m a terrible loser.”

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