Nika Muhl: Heart & Soul of the Huskies | Page 2 | The Boneyard

Nika Muhl: Heart & Soul of the Huskies

Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
5,800
Reaction Score
6,590
I agree with what has been said above but I would add that some of the team success on converted assists from Nika to our scorers relates to a change on the receiving end. If you look at her Crotian hi-lights or those from even freshman year, she already had all the types of passes she makes in her arsenal albeit her delivery may have been refined a bit (re:Bigboote post)

I think it was early freshman year that Williams said essentially, 'Nika was a crazy good passer, but if you aren't paying attention you get hit in the side of the head'. So, as much as Nika may have refined her delivery of her passes, the receivers have even more so adjusted to receive them. I think all of them have an eye on her and ready themselves to receive a pass even if they don't appear to be the obvious recipient. Of course this is much more related to situations that aren't the baseball passes to the wide receiver on a sprint out.

Another adjustment everybody has made is to go out fast, because with few exceptions Nika is going to get the ball down court very quickly. So, with Nika being the primary ball handler/distributor the team has adjusted a great deal to her style of play , which most beneficially, plays into the tremendous skillsets of her teammates in their collective ability to finish very successfully. This group has IMO, a wonderful meshing of skills and it's just a lot of fun to watch them make things happen.
Love it.

The "receivers" overall that are catching the passes are overall more efficient scorers (other than a sometime healthy Paige and sometime healthy Azzi) than last year. Edwards wasn't nearly as efficient. Liv wasn't much of a scorer; she was more of a passer (which Nika is). CWill was hot and cold, and Evina was more of a full-game player rather than an efficient scorer.

With this UCONN team, they are overall much more explosive (not saying they are better when last year's team when it was at its peak – just more explosive.). More explosiveness is conducive to more pace and more scoring. Just as you though overall the bold says it all. Hopefully today they will continue.
:)
 

Aluminny69

Old Timer
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
7,949
Reaction Score
10,136
•Nika Mühl’s sister, Hana, visited her at Notre Dame today. She’s a freshman at Ball State, which is 2.5 hours away from South Bend•
1670280377103.png
 

Kat

Joined
Feb 13, 2022
Messages
125
Reaction Score
444
I remember how Geno worked with Moriah Jefferson every year when she was at UConn. I recall her telling about how Geno took her to an NBA game to see a team's great point guard (forgot who) and pointed out things that he was doing, encouraging her to bring those elements into her game. His work with Nika is similar. Every year she is better because she works hard at it...and listens. She looks stronger this year. I think that the extra zip that she's putting on her passes comes from some work in the weight room. Her court vision is better, too.

That was a hard shot that she took on Sunday. Does anyone know if she's really okay now?
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
1,233
Reaction Score
2,004
Yes. Physically, technically, the passing is not hugely better; it was there all along. Why then the super increase in assists? Complicated. Partly she's being more selective. She has a nice trick: when it's not happening on a configuration she dumps off, changes her position/perspective and looks for a pass back to her to try again; very nice. Part of it is simply experience, partly her pass receivers playing lots better.

BTW as a total aside I think the assists as a stat are going to fade away somewhat. She frequently makes passes (as I remarked earlier: like chess) to improve the offensive position of the team rather than necessarily to players in an immediate scoring opportunity, though obviously she does that a lot too. I think the balance of those types of passes is going to reach more of a level of equilibrium as the season goes on and there will be a reduction of the stat itself but NO reduction in passing effectiveness.

But the big change from her freshman/early sophomore seasons is somewhat equivalent to what happened with Stewie. The emotional component of her game, an essential part of her game because it's so much of who she is, was expressing itself negatively, impeding her performance. That emotion is still there full force, it has to be because it's a big part of her game, but it's more controlled, forward-looking, constructive, positive. How that happened I have no clue but I suspect it's mostly inherent in character, and a good dose of the magic that is Geno Auriemma.
I shall almost discount the ND game, that won't happen again. Aubrey is such a near complete total player from a year or 2 ago. The transformation is great to watch. However, again, it isn't far from the HS kid you wrote about. Uconn Women have needed the "slasher", leaper, defender, rebounder Aubrey has turned herself into. A
moment or 2 within the ND game Aubrey replicated a Gabby move, almost. (leaping skyward to steal a pass, missed it).
Certainly, Geno helped, that's his job. But it takes internal fortitude to actually do it. Kudo's to Aubrey. I am not in a position to see Aubrey's faults, really that applies to all, but whatever they are I'll excuse them to take what she can give. Uconn is bless with talent of many different types--a gift to fans.
 

Bigboote

That's big-boo-TAY
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
5,706
Reaction Score
13,633
I remember how Geno worked with Moriah Jefferson every year when she was at UConn. I recall her telling about how Geno took her to an NBA game to see a team's great point guard (forgot who) and pointed out things that he was doing, encouraging her to bring those elements into her game. His work with Nika is similar. Every year she is better because she works hard at it...and listens. She looks stronger this year. I think that the extra zip that she's putting on her passes comes from some work in the weight room. Her court vision is better, too.

That was a hard shot that she took on Sunday. Does anyone know if she's really okay now?
I've been wondering the same thing -- it looked to me as though she was icing the right side of her face during timeouts after the hits.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
1,233
Reaction Score
2,004
As far as Muhl and fouling, she has made one major change, she has significantly reduced “playing the ball”; the number of times she is trying for steals off the dribble or stripping the ball. Those are plays that refs are going to call sometimes regardless of contract. Old school, but we learned and then taught, that you focused on the stomach of a player you were guarding because you can’t feint or fake direction with the stomach. With the advent of talking heads, highlights, and an overabundance of stats, steals and blocked shots came into vogue. IMO, both are fools good to a large extent because they lead to foul trouble. It kills me how many times defenders force an opponent into a very tough shot and than bail them out by fouling trying to block it. If a player makes that tough shot, tip your hat, and move on to the next play.
I agree with 90 percent of all you say because, that's NIKA.

Old school, high school, we were taught to watch the feet and the ball. The body never goes in a different direction than the feet. _Right or wrong?
Nika, isn't NIKA without the intensity, it's built into her. Yes she did stop the (sometimes seemingly foolish) midfloor attempt at steals. She has moved the intensity back a notch under the boards. But, nose to nose, she'll never give in, if taunted lookout.
Nika is the kind of player and PG I want on any team. I'm super happy she selected Uconn. If her sister plays with that intensity---maybe it's good she plays for another team--can you imagine the damage 2 Nika's could do? I like NIKA!!
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
240
Reaction Score
1,002
I shall almost discount the ND game, that won't happen again. Aubrey is such a near complete total player from a year or 2 ago.

I certainly agree with that. However, this thread, and the long selection from me you quoted, are both about Nika. And I did not write anything like "the HS kid you wrote about" so either MY browser is acting up or you meant to reply to someone else in some other thread. No harm, no foul.
 

MSGRET

MSG, US Army Retired
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
4,974
Reaction Score
12,876
I remember how Geno worked with Moriah Jefferson every year when she was at UConn. I recall her telling about how Geno took her to an NBA game to see a team's great point guard (forgot who) and pointed out things that he was doing, encouraging her to bring those elements into her game. His work with Nika is similar. Every year she is better because she works hard at it...and listens. She looks stronger this year. I think that the extra zip that she's putting on her passes comes from some work in the weight room. Her court vision is better, too.

That was a hard shot that she took on Sunday. Does anyone know if she's really okay now?
I hope that UConn plays ND in the tournament and Nika gets back at Miles by running her into a hard screen set by AE.:rolleyes:
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
505
Reaction Score
2,352
A lot more has been asked of Nika this season than many anticipated and in equal measure she has risen to the challenge. She already has played the most minutes and most minutes/game this season and now with Azzi down it doesn't look like her time on the court will decline. One thing I think we can count on is that Nika will step up and do whatever she can to help offset the loss of Azzi. She most certainly won't be the only one to feel additional pressure but given her statement earlier this season 'that pressure is a privilege', she certainly will be even more privledged over the next several weeks! Assuming our other scorers can join Lou and get back on track and Dorka gets back from her injury, I like our chances with Nika's no quit leadership setting the tone.
 

Online statistics

Members online
52
Guests online
460
Total visitors
512

Forum statistics

Threads
174,484
Messages
4,347,813
Members
9,352
Latest member
Hooplehead


Top Bottom