Martin continues to contribute, despite injuries

Sophomore captain Kate Martin, coming off of an ACL tear two years ago, is currently playing through a broken nose she suffered earlier this season.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa guard Kate Martin passes the ball during a women’s basketball game against Purdue on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 87-81.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s basketball sophomore Kate Martin spent her first year as a Hawkeye on the sidelines, nursing an ACL tear for her entire freshman season.

In the 2019-20 season, Martin played off the bench, sporting a brace on her knee in her first full season on the Hawkeyes’ active roster.

“When I tore my ACL, I asked myself a lot, ‘Why did this happen to me?’” Martin said. “But, looking back on it, I’m really happy that it did, and it taught me a lot, and it taught me about how to be a good teammate first before a good player.”

Learning to be a good teammate helped Martin earn team captaincy for the 2020-21 season, a rarity for sophomores on Lisa Bluder-coached teams. This season, Martin is finally free of her knee brace, and she grabbed a coveted sport in Iowa’s starting lineup.

Unfortunately for Martin, the injuries still haven’t stopped.

Nine games into the 2020-21 season, Martin was hit in the face by a basketball in a game against Illinois on Jan. 3. Although she sat out of the rest of Iowa’s dominant 107-68 win that day, Martin wasn’t sidelined for long, and she returned to practice just days later.

“I’m really, really, happy with her play,” Bluder said. “Kate came in here, we were really excited about her, she tore her ACL in the summer [before her freshman season] and sat out that whole year … Now, this kid is playing with a broken nose and a mask that sometimes does inhibit her vision.”

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While Martin’s current injury has not kept her off the court, it has forced her to wear a protective mask around her eyes and nose to protect her face. Martin said the mask only slightly inhibits her vision, and although it’s not ideal to play with something on her face, she isn’t making any excuses.

“She’s being so modest about the mask,” junior center Monika Czinano said. “I know it really does affect vision and how she can see, but she’s so tough that she’ll never admit it. The fact that she broke her nose one time and she just broke it again, going hard in practice, like she didn’t need to, but she did. She’s incredibly tough mentally and physically, and I think it puts the team up a lot.”

Originally, Martin only had to wear her mask for six weeks following the Illinois game Jan. 3. But a slip in practice last week caused Martin’s nose to break again — tacking on another five to six weeks of mask-wearing.

“One of the grey squad guys threw a beautiful bullet pass right to my face, and I ate it,” Martin said. “So, the mask will continue.”

According to Czinano, Martin’s roommate, No. 20’s toughness doesn’t fade away when she steps off the hardwood.

“In the apartment, she’s definitely the stronger one,” Czinano said. “I have her room closer to the door because in my head, if somebody breaks in, Kate can go get them first, that’s my mindset.”

Martin, her facemask, and the rest of the Iowa women’s basketball team will take on Nebraska this Thursday in Lincoln. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and be streamed on BTN+.