WVU’s Martinez named to 2022 Women’s Naismith Trophy Watch List

WVU Basketball

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Junior forward Esmery Martinez of the No. 19/23-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team has been named to the 2022 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Women’s Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.

Martinez is the second Mountaineer in as many years to be named to the Naismith Trophy Women’s Watch List. Kysre Gondrezick was named to the award’s midseason watch list on Feb. 9.

The junior forward has now been named to two preseason watch lists after being named to the 2022 Katrina McClain Award Watch List on Oct. 28. Additionally, Martinez was unanimously selected to the 2021-22 Preseason All-Big 12 Team on Oct. 6.

The Hato Mayor Del Ray, Dominican Republic, native is one of eight players from the Big 12 Conference featured on the preseason watch list, joining Baylor’s Queen Egbo and NaLyssa Smith, Iowa State’s Ashley Joens, Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee, Oklahoma’s Madi Williams, TCU’s Lauren Heard and Texas Tech’s Vivian Gray .

Martinez enters the 2021-22 campaign after averaging a double-double a season ago, with 13.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. The junior forward has played in 58 career games during her Mountaineer career, including 29 starts.

As a sophomore in 2020-21, she was one of two Mountaineers to play in and start all 29 games for WVU. Martinez finished last season with a team-high 335 rebounds, the best mark by a Mountaineer since 1986 (Georgeann Wells, 348) and the fifth-best in single-season program history. She also finished in double-figure scoring 22 times, including three 20-point games, last year.

Martinez hauled in double-digit rebounds in 18 games in 2020-21, including 20 or more boards in three contests. Her three 20-plus rebound games were the most by a Mountaineer in a single season since Olivia Bradley in 1985 (six).

Her 15 double-doubles in 2020-21 were the most by a WVU player since Lisa Szymczak in 1994 (15) and ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 and No. 11 nationally. She also posted a double-double streak of seven games last season from Dec. 13, 2020, to Jan. 16, 2021, the best stretch by a Mountaineer sophomore in program history and the longest streak since Olivia Bradley in 1984 (eight).

Martinez was one of two Mountaineers selected to the 2021 All-Big 12 First Team and the first Mountaineer sophomore to be selected to the All-Big 12 First Team since Tynice Martin in 2017.

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