SE: Martin’s Toughness Key for Wildcats

When K-State women’s basketball sophomore Shaelyn Martin steps onto the court, she’s ready to give it her all for her team. 

The tough, gritty guard from Salina, Kansas, is the Wildcats leader in rebounds (112), assists (66), and charges drawn (15) this season, and takes pride in filling the stat sheet wherever her team needs it to be filled. 

She may not be the high scorer for the Wildcats (Martin is averaging 4.8 points per game this season), but she does the dirty work and does it well.

In last week’s game against West Virginia, Martin drew three charges. She drew three more against No. 17/19 Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon. She said knowing how to take a charge is a skill learned over time and, most likely, it’s a skill she picked up growing up playing basketball with her brother. 

“Taking charges is something that I’ve always done,” said Martin. “I prepare my body for the contact. I know it’s going to come, so I try to get myself in a stance to when I am falling, it’s graceful in a way, I’m not just hitting the floor or having such an impact on the floor. You have to learn how to absorb the floor so when you hit, it’s not as bad.” 

While in her years playing the sport she’s worked on making the impact less painful, sometimes taking a charge does hurt. But Martin doesn’t let it get to her. Through her toughness, she brushes it off, gets back up and keeps on going.

“She’s just a tough player,” said K-State head coach Jeff Mittie about Martin. “There are some charges that happen so fast that you don’t really have time to think about it, but then there are the ones that you step in there knowing who you’re taking it from and where it’s coming from and you know it’s going to hurt. She takes those as well as anybody.”

Along with her tough nature, Martin has a high basketball IQ. She came into the Wildcat basketball program last year as one of the all-time best girls basketball players out of Salina Central High School and has since started every game of her career in a Wildcat uniform.

“She’s continued to grow in a lot of ways,” continued Mittie. “She came in right away as a freshman and established she could play multiple positions, that she could play with a high level of intelligence and that she played with a high level of toughness; all of those things are very valuable.”

Overall, in her 49 games as a Wildcat, Martin has tallied 156 assists, 96 steals, 282 rebounds (5.8 per game) and 229 points (4.7 per game). She is currently the only player in the Big 12 to lead her team in both rebounding and assists this season and is the only player in the league with both 100-plus rebounds and 65-plus assists this year. 

“The flow of the game comes a lot easier now,” Martin explained. “I’m not overthinking this or that or taking responsibilities that aren’t necessarily mine any more. I’m able to relax and just play with my teammates; it’s made the game a lot easier.” 

Though she is in her second year with the Cats, Martin has grown her role and is now looked to as one of the team’s leaders. 

“Last year I had some form of a leadership role because I was in a starting position and played a lot of minutes,” began Martin. “But now having a year of experience, my teammates have more confidence in me and they trust what I’m saying because they’ve seen me play; they’ve played alongside of me.”

Following last night’s win, the Wildcats (11-5, 1-4 Big 12) return home to Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday, to take on TCU (12-4, 2-3 Big 12) at 7 p.m. The game marks K-State’s annual “Pack the House Game” where all tickets and designated concession items (pretzels, popcorn and select candy and chips) for the Big 12 matchup are available for just $1. For more information on the Pack the House game, please click here

For game notes, stats, video highlights and more from yesterday evening’s game, please click here