UConn’s Nika Mühl ‘respects Sue Bird even more’ after breaking her record

Nika Mühl has surpassed Sue Bird's UConn single-season assists record. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

UConn women’s basketball legend Sue Bird already looms large in Huskies history. Still, junior guard Nika Mühl gained a deeper admiration for Bird as she broke her single-season assists record.

With her seven assists in Monday’s 60-51 win against Xavier, Mühl has 236 assists and counting this season for No. 9 UConn (26-5). She surpassed Bird’s program record of 231, set in the 2001-02 season.

“Honestly, like, this is tough to do and I respect her even more for what she did,” Mühl said. “It means a lot. … I never understood how tough it is.”

While Mühl did not hit double-digits in assists Monday, she has had 10 or more assists in a program-record nine games this season. She is averaging 7.9 assists per game.

Mühl broke Bird’s record in the regular-season finale for her team, but she still has the Big East and the NCAA tournament to add to her total. Still, even as she inked her name in the Huskies’ history books, Mühl deflected praise for her accomplishment.

“I really like this group of people, my teammates, and I feel like it means even more because it’s kind of like a team award,” she said. “You know, assists, you have to pass but somebody has to make the basket. So, I feel like it’s kind of like a team award, which gives it so much more importance when I think about it.”

With Paige Bueckers out for the season with an ACL tear, Mühl has taken on a larger role in the UConn offense as the starting point guard.

“I think she’s had an incredible year,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “That’s kind of indicative of who our team is, you know, Nika’s our identity. She’s the one that drives us.”