Iowa’s Kate Martin Went to WNBA Draft to Support Caitlin Clark — and Then Got Drafted Herself: ‘A Lot of Emotions Right Now’

Clark said she “couldn’t be happier” for her close friend and former Iowa teammate

Kate Martin poses with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected 18th overall pick by the Las Vegas Aces during the 2024 WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 15, 2024 in New York City.

From Left: Kate Martin and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty

Former Iowa women’s basketball player Kate Martin traveled to Brooklyn, New York on Monday night so that she could be there to support her former teammate, Caitlin Clark, as she was selected No. 1 overall in the WNBA Draft.

But 17 picks later, it was Martin who unexpectedly heard her name called and experienced her childhood dream come true.

“There are a lot of emotions right now,” Martin, 23, said after getting drafted No. 18 overall by the Las Vegas Aces, according to The Associated Press.

“I’m really happy to be here. I was here to support Caitlin, but I was hoping to hear my name called. All I wanted was an opportunity and I got it. I’m really excited.”

Caitlin Clark greets Kate Martin after the 2024 WNBA Draft on April 15, 2024 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York.

From Left: Caitlin Clark and Kate Martin at the 2024 WNBA Draft. Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty

Clark, 22, congratulated Martin on social media afterwards. “KATE. MARTIN. LFGGGGG,” Clark wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter) alongside a sunglasses emoji and a pair of white hearts.

On her Instagram Stories, Clark shared a selfie of the her and Martin together. “Couldn’t be happier for you,” Clark wrote alongside another heart emoji.

Iowa guard Kate Martin (20) and Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) as seen after a women's college basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Iowa Hawkeyes on March 03, 2024, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, IA.

From Left: Kate Martin and Caitlin Clark after a game in March 2024. Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Leading up to the draft, the two friends had quite the weekend with the NCAA Division I’s all-time leading scorer bringing Martin and their teammate, Gabbie Marshall. on stage with her during the closing credits of Saturday Night Live. Clark had appeared on the episode’s “Weekend Update” segment earlier with Michael Che in the night.

At Iowa, Clark and Martin helped bring the Iowa women’s basketball team its most successful seasons in school history. The team made it to the Final Four and the national championship game in back-to-back seasons in 2023 and 2024, racking up 65 wins over the last two years.

While Clark was breaking records and nabbing headlines, Martin backed her up with 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

Kate Martin #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes looks to pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament National Championship at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 7, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Kate Martin during a game in April 2024. Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty

The 6-foot guard dreamt about playing basketball for Iowa since she was a kid, her mother, Jill Martin, once told The Quad-City Times. “She’s had a ball in her hands since she could play,” she said.

And now she’ll continue her career as a professional in the WNBA.

Martin was emotional when the Aces — the defending WNBA Champions — called her name during Monday night’s draft. She immediately turned to hug Marshall and then her former Hawkeyes assistant coach, Jan Jensen.

“I’m super excited for the opportunity,” Martin said, per the AP. “I have a really good work ethic.”

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