"Tigers & Hawks for life" - Aces rookie Kate Martin exchanges jersey with Buffalo Bills star A.J. Epenesa in Las Vegas

Aces rookie Kate Martin exchanges jersey with Buffalo Bills star A.J. Epenesa in Las Vegas
Aces rookie Kate Martin exchanges jersey with Buffalo Bills star A.J. Epenesa in Las Vegas (Images: Las Vegas Aces Instagram)

Las Vegas Aces rookie Kate Martin exchanged jerseys with NFL Buffalo Bills star A.J. Epenesa after the game against the Connecticut Sun on Friday. The two athletes go way back, sharing the same roots, which Martin highlighted when she shared a post on Instagram featuring their jersey exchange.

"Tigers & Hawks for life!! ❤️❤️," Martin captioned her IG story.
Martin exchanges jerseys with Epenesa (Image: Kate Martin Instagram story)
Martin exchanges jerseys with Epenesa (Image: Kate Martin Instagram story)

Both Martin and Epenesa grew up in Edwardsville and graduated from Edwardsville High as fellow Tigers. Epenesa graduated in 2017, while Martin did so a year later, after which both of them joined college at the University of Iowa to become fellow Hawks.

Earlier this month, the NFL star shared with Blake Horn of WHBF that he always expected greatness from Kate.

"We've always watched Kate and been like, 'Wow, she's a great athlete. She's got the montal. She's got the attitude for it. She could be great. And then watching her have the success, it's no surprise that it went the way it did," Epenesa said.

Kate Martin was picked 18th overall by the Las Vegas Aces in the 2024 WNBA Draft. The rookie is averaging 4.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 13 games for the Aces.

She was the second Hawkeye to be drafted by the league this year after her Iowa teammate, Caitlin Clark, was selected first overall by the Indiana Fever.

Kate Martin and Caitlin Clark meme shirt going viral

Ahead of the Las Vegas Aces' matchup against the Connecticut Sun on Friday, Kate Martin was seen with two fans who boasted shirts featuring the Aces rookie in a meme setting referencing the movie "Step Brothers."

One of the shirts featured a meme of Martin with her former Hawkeye teammate Caitlin Clark, while the other shirt featured her with her current teammate A'ja Wilson.

Caitlin Clark spent her entire college career alongside Kate at Iowa and the two have made their close friendship well-known. They played in two NCAA tournaments together and made back-to-back final fours in both of them; however, they fell short in both.

Kate Martin and Caitlin Clark secured victories with their respective WNBA teams on Friday. Martin recorded two points and one rebound as the Las Vegas Aces secured an 85-74 win against the Connecticut Sun.

Meanwhile, Caitlin Clark registered 16 points, four rebounds, seven assists and one block for the Indiana Fever's 91-79 win against the Atlanta Dream.

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Edited by Krutik Jain
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