Iowa women’s basketball guard Kate Martin playing through broken nose

The senior broke her nose for the third time in her career last week, and she’ll play with a protective face mask for the next month.


Grace Smith

Iowa guard Kate Martin shoots a 3-pointer during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Southern University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars, 87-34.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

Iowa women’s basketball senior Kate Martin is used to wearing a face mask.

The starting guard broke her nose twice during the 2020-21 season. She was first hit in the face with a ball during Iowa’s game against Illinois in January 2021. Four weeks later, one of Iowa’s practice squad players accidentally threw a ball to her face, breaking her nose again.

Now, she’s broken her nose for a third time.

“Last week, last Tuesday, I got elbowed by one of our gray squad players and I broke my nose,” Martin said Wednesday. “I got it reset and everything, so it’s just healing and I honestly feel fine.”

RELATED: Martin continues to contribute, despite injuries

Martin was sporting a protective face mask around her eyes and nose to protect her face in Iowa’s 87-34 win over Southern in the season-opener on Monday night.

“Unfortunately, she just has a nose that likes to break,” Bluder said postgame on Monday.

Martin said she took a couple days off of practice after she broke her nose for a third time last week. When she returned to practice, she focused on readjusting to playing with a face mask — something that can affect her vision on the court.

“I don’t really think about it honestly, I try not to let it bother me too much,” Martin said of her face mask. “Obviously, the first couple practices back, I was a little nervous about getting hit in the face. But now, I don’t really think about it at all, and I don’t want it to hinder me in any sort of way. I don’t want to get hit in the face again, I don’t think anybody does. I’m prone to getting hit in the face for some reason.”

While Martin has worn a mask on and off throughout her college career, she said she hasn’t considered using the “Rip Hamilton method.” Richard Hamilton, a former NBA player, wore a protective face mask and headband for every game, even after his nose and facial fractures healed.

RELATED: No. 4 Iowa women’s basketball notches season-opening victory over Southern

Iowa prepares for Evansville, Drake

Iowa will take on Evansville at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their second meeting in two years. The Hawkeyes took down the Purple Aces last season, 93-56.

But Bluder said she’s not considering the game tape from the contest last season — Iowa was missing two starters while Evansville was missing three. Evansville is much-improved this season, Bluder said.

“They’re an experienced team, they have four seniors in the starting lineup and a junior,” Bluder said. “… To me, they’re a lot better team than they were last year.”

Following Iowa’s game against Evansville, the Hawkeyes will take their first road trip of the year to play Drake in Des Moines on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Iowa hasn’t played Drake since the 2020-21 season. The 2021-22 edition of the yearly matchup was canceled because of COVID-19 cases within the Iowa program.

Bluder said a quick road trip at the beginning of the season is a good indicator of how her team is going to react in hostile environments. The Knapp Center, the home to Drake women’s basketball, is nearly sold out for the game.

“My concern is playing on the road for the first game, seeing how our team’s going to react,” Bluder said. “But with a seasoned team like we have, I just don’t believe there’s going to be a lot of hiccups.”

There will also be a lot of emotions when the Hawkeyes travel to the Bulldogs, Bluder said.

Bluder coached at Drake for 10 seasons from 1990-2000. Jan Jensen, Iowa’s associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, played and coached under Bluder at Drake. Jensen is one of two players to have their number retired at The Knapp Center.

Former Hawkeye Megan Meyer also transferred to Drake following the 2020-21 season.

“Megan Meyer transferred from here, and she’s just a fabulous shooter in their starting lineup,” Bluder said. “That just adds a whole different emotional element to it, let alone Jan’s jersey hanging in the rafters, so it’s a strange thing, but I have a whole ton of respect for that program.”