Kate Martin is becoming a darkhorse WNBA ROTY contender

We could see a different Hawkeye take home an individual award at the end of the WNBA season.
Las Vegas Aces v Atlanta Dream
Las Vegas Aces v Atlanta Dream / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

Seemingly every conversation surrounding the WNBA these days centers around Caitlin Clark. Some of the discourse is certainly justified, but quite a bit of it is a headache.

But in the background of that discourse is an adjacent storyline coming together: the rookie season being put together by Clark's Iowa teammate, Kate Martin.

Though Martin was selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, there were no guarantees for her professional career. Martin had to make the roster, unlike her legendary teammate.

But since securing a spot on the reigning back-to-back WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces, Martin has begun to write her own story, and it's refreshing to see play out.

After just five points in 10 minutes of preseason play, Martin stepped into the starting lineup on Sunday and had a strong performance. She played 32 minutes and gave the Aces 13 points with three three-pointers with four rebounds and three assists.

This is her first real taste at full-time play in the WNBA, and we're about a quarter of the way through the regular season. While Clark is having a peak and valley rookie season, Martin has been on a steady incline since joining the league.

So, when it comes to the 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year race, does Martin have a shot?

Clark is still in the thick of the race on her presence and shooting prowess alone, which is totally justified. Nonetheless, Clark became the fastest player in WNBA history to reach 200 points and 50 assists, which certainly helps her resume. She's averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game - which are only low by her standards.

Los Angeles Sparks forward Cameron Brinks is a front-runner due to her defensive prowess. She's getting 2.8 blocks and 5.9 rebounds per game. Overall, her game has appeared more steady than Clark's, even if her work isn't as highlighted.

Angel Reese remains a contender with the Chicago Sky. Reese has played a large chunk of the season without her fellow star rookie Kamilla Cardoso and has picked up the slack in respectable fashion averaging nearly a double-double with 11.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

Outside of these three, anyone else would be a darkhorse, including Martin. But her story is a fun one to witness, especailly since it's really just getting started.

Sure, she's a longshot to win the award at this point, but her odds of making the most talented roster in the WNBA roster weren't guaranteed either.

Up Next: