The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Caitlin Clark and Kate Martin reunite for the first time in a WNBA early-season clash

Caitlin Clark and her young Indiana Fever squad visited Sin City to take on former teammate Kate Martin and defending champion Las Vegas Aces.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark smiles at guard Kate Martin after a NCAA Championship game between No. 1 Iowa and No. 1 South Carolina at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday, April 7, 2024. The Gamecocks defeated the Hawkeyes, 87-75.

After losing their second straight national championship game, Iowa women’s basketball guards Caitlin Clark and Kate Martin walked off the court not knowing if they would ever play on the same floor together. 

Clark’s dominant college career easily locked her in as the likely No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, but it was unknown whether Martin would join her in the league. She put up impressive numbers during her six-year career at Iowa, but the WNBA’s difficult draft process raised concern.

Any doubt was erased when the Las Vegas Aces selected Martin with the No. 18 overall pick after Clark was drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever. The Hawkeye faithful immediately erupted in celebration for their beloved stars, and one date on the calendar soon emerged – May 25. 

Clark and the Fever were set to travel to Sin City to take on Martin and the Aces, and joining them was former Iowa standout center and Naismith Award winner Megan Gustafson, who was signed by Las Vegas in the offseason after spending some time overseas. 

Nearly 12,000 fans packed into Michelob Ultra Arena to watch the anticipated matchup, including new Iowa head coach Jan Jensen and former coach Lisa Bluder. Though the crowd was dominated by Aces fans, a few members of the Black and Gold faithful could be seen in the stands supporting their Hawkeyes. 

Though it was a back and forth affair in the first half, Las Vegas pulled away early in the second half and rolled to a 99-80 victory. Former South Carolina star A’ja Wilson led all scorers with 29 points, 15 rebounds, and two assists.  

Clark scored her first points of the evening on a long distance three pointer five minutes into the contest, but couldn’t seem to find her footing and managed only one field goal over the final 15 minutes of the half.

Though Martin and Gustafson didn’t score in the half, all three Hawkeye legends played a few minutes together in the first half, with Clark battling Martin for a rebound in the first quarter.

After the break, Clark immediately knocked down one of her trademark mid-range jumpers early in the third period, but quickly watched her team fall into a double-digit hole. 

Meanwhile, Martin and the Aces were just getting started. 

With the shot clock winding down, Las Vegas guard Kelsey Plum found Martin alone on the wing for three, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Martin continued the charge with another triple and a tough three-point play that brought her former coaches to their feet.

From there, the Aces cruised to an easy victory. 

Martin collected her best performance of her professional career, tallying 12 points, seven rebounds, and an assist. She came into the contest averaging only 1.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, but could be a vital piece of the rotation as the Aces attempt to win their third straight WNBA championship. 

“It was weird, I’m not going to lie,” Martin told Kyle Huesmann of HawkeyeReport on playing against Clark. “Looking out on the court and seeing her in a different jersey than me, it was obviously different. It’s really fun, we’re both living out our dream right now and we both get to compete at the highest level, so we’re both really grateful for that opportunity.”

“I’m just really happy for her and everything Coach Hammon says about her is so true,” Clark said before the game. “Every person that played at Iowa and was around her knows that to be true. She’s the ultimate teammate, ultimate person, ultimate leader.”

Clark had a quiet scoring night with only eight points on 2-of-8 shooting and seven assists. Gustafson finished the night without a point, though she only saw eight minutes of action. 

This game might not have had much meaning to many of the fans in the arena, but it meant everything for the Iowa women’s basketball program and its loyal fanbase. 

“It’s really cool when your former college coaches are sitting courtside right next to the bench,” Martin said. “Las Vegas has a fun environment here and it’s really fun to be a part of. I’m really grateful to be a part of this organization…it’s really cool that a lot of Hawkeye nation could come out tonight.”

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.