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Mountaineers in the Pros

Carey Confident Martin Can Succeed in WNBA

Cody Nespor

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It nearly came down to the end Friday night, but with the third to last pick in the 2020 WNBA draft West Virginia guard Tynice Martin was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks.

In four years, Martin had put together one of the most productive careers in WVU history, finishing fourth all-time with 1,980 career points. She is only the fourth player in West Virginia history to be a four-time All-conference selection.

The Sparks drafted Martin with the 10th pick in the third and final round of the WNBA draft Friday night, 34th overall. WVU head coach Mike Carey said he was surprised Martin lasted as long as she did.

“I thought she may go a little bit earlier, I really did,” Carey said Monday morning. “But, she has an opportunity and that’s all you can ask for.”

Martin was suspended to begin the 2019-20 season after being charged with domestic battery in the offseason. Carey said he thought missing that time at the beginning and also not having a postseason hurt Martin.

“I think those three months off at the start of the season hurt her,” Carey said. “I think not being able to play postseason hurt her a little bit because she was just starting to get back her rhythm and her shooting and that type of stuff. I think her best days of basketball are ahead.”

Martin burst onto the scene at WVU as a freshman in 2015-16. She averaged 10.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists en route to being named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. As both a freshman and a sophomore, Martin averaged more than 18 points per game and was named to back-to-back All-Big 12 First Teams.

As a senior this year Martin rejoined the team in November and her production dipped a bit. She averaged 14.5 points and shot just 36.6% from the floor, a career-low. She was still named to the All-Big 12 Second Team and now has the chance to play professionally.

Los Angeles went 22-12 in 2019, the best record in the Western Conference. The Sparks have four veteran guards that started at least 14 games last season. Five-year veteran Chelsea Gray started all 34 games at guard and led the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game.

“I know the Sparks have veteran guards but also they wanted a couple young players to come in and work with those veteran guards so hopefully, she goes there and does extremely well,” Carey said. “I know She’ll go there and give her best shot. We’re proud of her and excited she got drafted.”

Also in the Sparks’ 2020 draft class are second-round picks Beatrice Mompremier from Miami and Leonie Fiebich from Germany.

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Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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