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Nika Mühl Adds Thunderous Defense And Playmaking To The Seattle Storm

In the WNBA, many teams enhanced their roster using the draft in order to compete for a championship. The Indiana Fever selected superstar Caitlin Clark first overall, improving the most with a key piece. In the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Storm added an important piece as well despite not having a first round pick. Following a historic college career, point guard Nika Mühl (NEE-KUH Mul) hopes to prove she is the perfect fit on the Storm.

Seattle had the 14th overall selection in the second round, which they used to take Mühl. During her college career at the University of Connecticut (UConn), she broke many school records, while proving she is a defensive menace. Her toughness and selflessness proved to fit UConn's culture all four years. Mühl holds the school records in all-time assists (686), assists in a game (15; November 20, 2022 vs NC State), and single-season assists (284; 2022-23). She surpassed former Storm and UCONN legend Sue Bird when accomplishing some of these records, proving she is an elite playmaker. Mühl is also a scrappy defender, earning the nickname "The Secretary Of Defense" after guarding some of the biggest names in college basketball. She was assigned to players like Clark, and Juju Watkins in the NCAA Tournament, welcoming the challenge. Mühl's defensive intensity and gritty play style make her the ultimate fit in Seattle, with a sizeable opportunity to grow.

The Storm rebuilt their roster through free agency and the draft, establishing their tough, basketball savvy culture. Adding veterans like Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike (NEH-kuh Oh-gwoo-MIH-kay) to pair with Jewell Loyd, they have players that Mühl can learn from. When asked how she fits in, Seattle head coach Noelle Quinn spoke about her competitiveness and ability to face adversity. "(Mühl) plays with a lot of pride and she's competitive," Quinn said. "We saw a lot of times during the season it wasn't always great for her and there's something to say about a player who sticks with it and shows up." Mühl has a great supporting cast of teammates as well that can help her navigate the league in her first year. Veterans like Diggins-Smith can help her through what will be a grueling season, and prepare her for any obstacle they may face. They both have a similar play style, and coach Quinn mentioned how that can elevate everything Seattle does in any setting. "To have players that are like-minded in that way, we know that that elevates the play and everything that we do," She explained. "We're excited about the opportunity to have (Mühl) here and learn from one of the great point guards in our game." With every rookie, there is a different adjustment period from the college game to the league. For Mühl however, she discovered new ways to make the transition more enjoyable and easier for her.

UConn is known for producing players who have successful careers in the WNBA like Bird, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, and more. Mühl is part of an elite group, but the transition from college to the league isn't easy for any rookie. When asked about the difference between the WNBA and college, she described the league's physicality and how that helps her. "Very physical and much more contact is allowed, which I like," She said. Mühl also pointed out how the terminology difference is the toughest adjustment for her. "The dictionary has been the hardest part for me because we run a lot of the same things, but the calls and the words are different." Before training camp, Mühl learned from one of the top players in the league. She accepted an invite to Dawg Class, a basketball camp held by Las Vegas Aces point guard Kelsey Plum for the next generation of hoopers. Mühl described it as an amazing experience, and loved learning from Plum, one of the greats in the WNBA. "There is no better way to get prepared for training camp than to go to (Dawg Class) and learn from the best," she explained. "(Kelsey) is such a great role model and she definitely takes her time to make an impact and I think she prepared me so well for (training camp)." In some areas the transition might be different for Mühl, but she will still impact the Storm in many ways.

In her first WNBA (pre-season) game, she played 20 minutes off the bench, the most of the non-starters. Mühl recorded 6 points, 2 assists and 3 rebounds in the 85-59 victory over the Phoenix Mercury. She then established herself as a fan favorite in Seattle, taking pictures and signing autographs for many fans after the game. As the Storm prepare to battle the best players in the pursuit for a championship, they will be greatly assisted by their new secretary of defense, Nika Mühl.


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