Iowa women’s basketball guards Kate Martin, Gabbie Marshall returning for 2023-24 season

The Hawkeyes are rounding out their 2023-24 roster with the two guards, who will both come back for a final season with the Hawkeyes.


Grace Smith

Iowa guard Kate Martin dribbles the ball during the 2022 NCAA First Round women’s basketball pre-game open practices at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

The Iowa women’s basketball team is returning with some firepower next season. Guards Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall both announced Monday that they will return for a final season with the Hawkeyes in 2023-24. 

“It’s always sad to me when the seniors leave,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Getting the opportunity to delay that a year is incredible, because you put so much into your players, teaching them a system and trying to grow their leadership skills. Then, just to be able to enjoy it for a while; otherwise, they’re heading out the door right away. So it’s such a comforting feeling.”

Martin, who is coming back for a sixth year next season, has been with the Hawkeyes since the 2018-19 season. She’s won two Big Ten championships with the Hawkeyes in 2019 and 2022. 

In 2019, she watched from the sidelines as she was out for the season with a torn ACL, — but she found the good in her injury.

“I would not trade that experience for the world,” Martin said. “I would not trade my injury for the world, because I got to learn so much. By just being out and being able to learn from great leaders, learn how to be a good teammate and cheer for your teammates above anything.”

Martin, who joined the starting lineup in the 2020-21 season, was an integral part of the Hawkeyes regular season and tournament championships in 2022.

The Edwardsville, Illinois, native said she’s planning on finishing up her master’s degree debt free in 2023-24 — which she said was a huge step ahead. 

“When I just thought about being done with basketball, it just killed me,” Martin said. “… This will be my sixth year, so like, that’s a long time in Iowa City playing basketball with the commitment, but there’s nothing else I’d rather do. I’m not really ready to start my real job anyway, so I thought, ‘Why not play another year with my best friends?’”

Martin, who the Hawkeyes call ‘the glue’ of the team, became one of the only sophomore captains in the Lisa Bluder era in the 2020-21 season. And she’s been a leader for the Hawkeyes ever since.

“There’s once in a lifetime players like [Caitlin Clark], but there’s once in a lifetime leaders like Kate, too, so she’s just a very important part of this team,” Marshall said. “I mean, not everything she does shows up on the boxscore. But what she does inside the locker room, and then our team meetings, there’s no words to describe it.”

Marshall, who will play a fifth year with the Hawkeyes in 2023-24, joined the Hawkeyes in 2019-20.

Iowa guard Gabbie Marshall jukes out Maryland guard Abby Meyers during a women’s basketball game between Iowa and Maryland at Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, February 2, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins, 96-82. (Madyson Gomez)

She said her family encouraged her to stay in college as long as she could, which contributed to her decision to return to Iowa next season.

“My family was always like, ‘You want to stay in college as long as you can, working sucks,’” Marshall said. “But just playing with these girls, this team is so special under these coaches, so it was really a no brainer for me.”

Bluder brought up the idea of returning in 2023-24 to Marshall and Martin before the 2022-23 season started. Marshall decided before the season she would return for another year.

Martin, however,  took a couple extra months to decide — she thought she was going to wrap up her master’s degree in one year, and she didn’t want to take opportunities away from Iowa’s younger players.

“It’s difficult for younger players too, whenever older players have this opportunity,” Martin said. “And it’s put a wrinkle in recruiting and whatnot, too. So, there was a lot of conflict in my own head. But I made my decision early January, and I’m very happy with my decision.”

Marshall and Martin’s return, along with Clark’s senior year, will give the Hawkeyes three returning, four-year starters in 2023-24. 

The Hawkeyes have filled up their 15 scholarship spots with Marshall and Martin’s return along with 2023 recruits Kennise Johnson-Etienne and Ava Jones. 

Jones may not play for the Hawkeyes because of serious injuries she sustained when she and her family were hit by a car in July 2022, but Bluder said the Hawkeyes will honor her scholarship.]

Bluder wasn’t worried about recruiting when she asked Martin and Marshall to come back — even before they officially made their decision, Bluder was recruiting as if they would return next season.

“We were just so hopeful that these guys would come back,” Bluder said. “What they’ve meant to our program, and how much success they’ve had and just what quality of women they are, you just want to hang on to those people.”

Head coach Lisa Bluder confirmed Monday, however, that senior forward McKenna Warnock will not return to the Hawkeyes next season. Warnock is planning to end her basketball career after the 2022-23 season and is applying to dental schools.

“She’s applying a number of places, very competitive to get in,” Bluder said. “She’s done great on her tests, but it’s a very competitive environment.”

To finish out 2022-23, No. 6 Iowa has two games remaining in the regular season against No. 7 Maryland and No. 2 Indiana.

The Hoosiers have clinched the regular season Big Ten title, but the Hawkeyes could become co-regular season conference champions if they win their final two games. 

“It’s the best time to be playing some of the best competition, heading into the end of our season,” Martin said. “We play Maryland and play Indiana, two great teams, of the top teams in the country. We feel really lucky to be at this point right now, and we’re really excited for it.”