Muhl’s growth on full display in win over Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Two years ago, then-freshman Nika Muhl sat on the bench for the entirety of UConn women’s basketball’s game at rival Tennessee.
She wasn’t injured and her absence from the game was written as a “coach’s decision.”
On Thursday, in the No. 5 Huskies’ 84-67 win over the Lady Vols in Knoxville, the point guard from Croatia played the full 40 minutes and led the game with four steals and 14 assists. The latter is one shy of UConn’s single-game assist record — set by Muhl in November.
A lot has changed for Muhl over the
past two years. She’s grown up and matured. She’s bettered her skills on the court and become a leader on and off the hardwood. Her role has not only become vital for the Huskies, but is the main focal point for the team’s offense this season.
Who’s to say if UConn hadn’t gone through its roller coaster of injuries both this season and last that Muhl wouldn’t have developed into who she is now.
But right now, she’s what UConn needs the most.
“Nika’s grown up from being all emotional all the time and never considering the consequences of her emotions,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “And her emotions were a big reason why she’s in the starting lineup, eventually. They’re a big reason why we played the way we play, how hard we play. And she’s channeled those emotions into a positive and that’s what’s allowed her to become the kind of player that she is right now.”
When Muhl arrived in Storrs in the summer of 2020 she was expected to take on the role of backup point guard to star Paige Bueckers.
She played 23 games with 15 starts and averaged 4.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Yet, she struggled