Martin shines through injury in Iowa women’s basketball’s win against Penn State

After breaking her nose on Jan. 3, sophomore guard Kate Martin played without a protective facemask for the first time in six weeks.


Iowa’s Kate Martin dribbles the basketball down the floor on a fast break during a women’s basketball game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lion’s at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Iowa Defeated Penn State 96-78.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Sophomore guard Kate Martin had the best game of her career on Thursday afternoon after playing without a protective face mask for the first time in six games.

The Edwardsville, Illinois, native’s career night propelled Iowa women’s basketball to its 12th win of the season over Penn State, 96-78. With that win, the Hawkeyes sit at 12-6 overall and 8-6 in the Big Ten.

After Martin broke her nose on Jan. 3 in the Hawkeyes matchup against Illinois, she had been wearing a protective face mask over her eyes and face to protect her nose for the past six weeks.

Two weeks ago, she thought she would have to wear it for the rest of the season after she got hit in the face at practice and rebroke her nose. But the mask came off, and Martin posted the first double-double of her career with 19 points and 11 assists.

“It had been six weeks since the Illinois game a couple days ago,” Martin said. “After the second time I got hit, it hasn’t been as sore as much anymore, so I was just asking our trainer if I could this week try it without the mask. And it’s been fine, felt fine, so she let me not wear it this game. It was nice.”

Martin said she feels more comfortable without the mask but said her outstanding performance without the mask was definitely a coincidence.

Although Martin said the mask did not badly inhibit her vision, head coach Lisa Bluder thinks it was no coincidence she played so well.

“I think there is a definite correlation between her having a good game and the mask being off,” Bluder said. “It’s freeing, right? I mean, her vision was blocked, and I really do attribute some turnovers she had earlier [in the season] to the mask.

“This was a special game for Kate Martin,”

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Martin’s heroics spanned throughout the game, as she dished out seven of her nine assists in the first half. In the second half, she went a perfect 5-of-5 from the 3-point line and collected 17 of her overall 19 points in 20 minutes.

“[I’m prouder of] the assists, for sure,” Martin said. “I was so happy that my teammates could knock them down. They’re great shooters, and I had confidence in them the whole time.”

Martin’s teammates know that hard work pays off.

“I’m so happy for her,” junior center Monika Czinano said. “She just was so confident out there. Every shot she took, I knew it was going down. She just had a look in her eyes that she knew. She knew what she was coming into… she deserves it, she’s such a fighter.”

The Hawkeyes’ game against Indiana, originally set for Sunday. was postponed to March 3. Iowa next takes the court on Tuesday at noon for a makeup game against No. 9 Maryland in College Park, Maryland.

The Maryland game kicks off the last five games of the season, all in an 11-day stretch.

“This is going to be a rough two week stretch for us,” Bluder said. “It’s going to be a grind.”

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