Ex-Iowa women’s basketball star Kate Martin officially makes WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces roster

Kate Martin is officially a WNBA player.

The former Iowa women’s basketball star and a second-round pick (18th overall) of the 2024 WNBA Draft officially made the opening-day roster for the reigning back-to-back champion Las Vegas Aces, the team announced on Monday.

The ex-Hawkeye survived five cuts and one additional signing during the team’s training camp to make the roster. In addition to former Iowa legend Megan Gustafson, who signed a two-year deal with the Aces this offseason, Martin’s notable new teammates are two-time MVP A’ja Wilson, five-time All-Star Chelsea Gray, two-time All-Star Kelsey Plum and two-time All-Star Jackie Young.

“Kate Martin is awesome. Kate Martin picks up things so quickly. She’s an amazing sponge,” Plum said on May 6. “We nicknamed her ‘Kate Money Martin,’ so I think that could stick because she really is.

“And when I say ‘Money,’ it’s not just about scoring and stuff. She’s just in the right place at the right time, making people better. And that’s what (head coach) Becky (Hammon) values, that’s what our coaching staff values and that’s why she’s going to be a great asset to our team.”

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Martin’s ex-teammate, Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever, also offered her support and praise for the rookie in the days leading up to final roster cuts.

“I talk to her every single day … To me, she’s a pro player. She brings every asset that you could possibly want, whether it’s shooting, defense, whether it’s leadership. In my eyes she’s one of the best leaders I’ve been around in my entire life,” Clark said on May 2. “… She’s somebody I can always lean on and rely on, whether she’s my teammate, whether she’s just my friend.

“I wish she was still my teammate. I’m just really happy and excited for her.”

Martin averaged career highs in points (13.1), rebounds (6.8) and shooting percentage (50.7%) for Iowa in the 2023-24 season, but was not guaranteed to make the Aces. With just 12 teams and a maximum of 144 total players in the association, the WNBA is arguably the most difficult professional sports league to land a roster spot.

Of the 36 players drafted in 2023, only 15 played in a game last season and only eight made an opening day roster. Martin’s prospects initially increased when WNBA legend and future Basketball Hall of Famer Candace Parker announced her retirement on April 28.

Luckily for Martin and her many Iowa fans, it seems there’s more to come in her basketball future.

Gus Martin is a Digital Producer/Content Director for The Des Moines Register. Follow him on X at @GusMartin_DMR.