Las Vegas Aces rookie Kate Martin recently shared her thoughts on the pressures facing her former Iowa teammate, Caitlin Clark, as the latter navigates her rookie season with the Indiana Fever. Martin highlighted the unrealistic expectations placed on Clark and the challenges that come with her growing fame.

“I think people are really hard on her expecting her to be perfect. That's unrealistic right,” Martin said, via Paloma Villicana of Fox 5 News Las Vegas. “I don’t know if there’s too much I can do besides just be a friend, right? … Being a listening ear, being there for her and being there for everyone. I mean, Caitlin’s phenomenal, and she is having a great rookie season … She’s a phenomenal player.”

Martin, who has appeared in 13 games for the Aces this season, averaging four points, 2.5 rebounds and 1,2 assists, understands the intense scrutiny Clark faces, having played with her during Clark’s historic college run with Iowa women’s basketball.

“She’s one of my best friends. I’m just there for her,” Martin said.

Clark, who is averaging 16.3 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game, has been a focal point in the WNBA this season. The interest in her performance has been immense, and with great expectations comes great responsibility. Despite the Fever's recent struggles, including a one-point, 88-87 loss to the Chicago Sky on Sunday, Clark's impact both on the court and the league as a whole are undeniable.

The Aces will host the Fever on July 2.

Supporting Caitlin Clark at Iowa

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) and Iowa Hawkeyes guard Kate Martin (20) take questions at Rocket Mortgage Arena, Thursday, April 4, 2024 in Cleveland.
© Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

During their time at Iowa, Martin and other teammates played a crucial role in supporting Clark both on and off the court. The dynamic between Clark and her teammates provided insight into the support system that helped her navigate the pressures of stardom during her time with Iowa women's basketball.

“Everybody thinks they want to be Caitlin,” Martin once said, via ESPN's Wright Thompson. “I don't know if you want to be Caitlin … The crown she wears is heavy.”

Clark's teammates, often referred to as her tribe, were integral to her journey, witnesses to the emotional toll of her rising fame. Former Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder noted Clark's preference for strong, vocal teammates, which was essential in maintaining a cohesive and supportive team environment.

“I think she likes strong people. People that are good leaders. People who will use their voice,” Bluder said.

Despite the immense pressure Clark faced, her teammates remained united. The solidarity was particularly evident following a chaotic courtstorming incident after Iowa's game against Ohio State in January, where Clark's teammates rallied around her in support.

“I see Caitlin on the ground and I just start seeing red,” Martin said at the time. “Whatever … I'm ride or die for my ladies.”