Making the regular season roster in the WNBA is not an easy task. But rookies Kate Martin and Dyaisha Fair are making quite the impression on Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon, giving them both a chance to suit up for the defending champions this summer.

On Saturday, Las Vegas played its only preseason game of the year, taking on the Puerto Rico national team. The Aces cruised to a 102-50 victory, with both Martin and Fair seeing 10 minutes in the game.

Martin and Fair each scored five points and dished out two assists. It was the first time the two rookies went against someone other than their teammates, and had a chance to defend players not named Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young.

Hammon said she can already see the upside in both Martin and Fair.

“Well, you have to understand these rookies, every time they’re competing you have to allow them some grace to grow and allow them to have some grace with each other,” Hammon said. “At the end of the day, they’re trying to guard the greatest guards in the world with Kelsey (and) Jakie.

“I tell them all the time, you guard them, you can guard anybody in the world. So, it was actually nice to see them go against somebody other than our players because you can see really how much upside there is to both of them. Both of them are there for specific reasons. … Dyaisha is completely different from Kate. But what we saw in each of them and the skillset they possess, we value both of those.”

Martin was a do-it-all player during her career at Iowa. She’s capable of being a productive offensive player while also serving as a defensive stopper. Earlier this offseason, Plum raved about what Martin brings to the floor.

“Kate Martin is awesome. Kate Martin picks up things so quickly, she’s an amazing sponge,” Plum said. “I think Becky nicknamed her Kate ‘Money’ Martin. I think that’s gonna stick.

“And when I say ‘money,’ it’s not just about scoring and stuff, she’s just in the right place at the right time. She just makes people better. And that’s what Becky values, that’s what our coaching staff values and that’s why she’s gonna be a great asset to our team.”

Fair was a prolific scorer while at Buffalo and Syracuse. The guard finished her career with 3,403 points, ranking third all-time in NCAA women’s basketball.

The knock against Fair was her 5-foot-5 height coming out of college. But she is set on proving all the doubters wrong.

“No matter what anyone says, and what anyone may think specifically regarding my height, I’m here,” she said. “Watch me work.”

Las Vegas begins its regular season on Tuesday, May 14 against the Phoenix Mercury. The game will air on ESPN 2 with tipoff set for 10 p.m. ET.





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