No. 3 UConn women’s basketball vs. No. 9 Iowa: Time, TV and what you need to know

UConn guard Nika Muhl (10) plays in No. 5 UConn's 91-69 win over No. 10 NC State in the NCAA women's college basketball game at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

UConn guard Nika Muhl (10) plays in No. 5 UConn's 91-69 win over No. 10 NC State in the NCAA women's college basketball game at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media

PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s the matchup everyone wanted.

The No. 3 ranked UConn women’s basketball team will face No. 9 Iowa in the Phil Knight Legacy championship Sunday at the Moda Center in Portland. The winner will become the first women’s program to win the tournament that honors Nike co-founder Phil Knight and just started to include women’s teams this year.

UConn advanced to the championship after defeating Duke 78-50 and Iowa advanced after beating Oregon State 73-59.

While the Paige Bueckers-Caitlin Clark rematch from the 2021 Sweet 16 will have to wait (Bueckers is out this season after tearing her ACL in the summer), Sunday’s game will still have the drama of being a top-10 matchup — especially with Nika Mühl taking Bueckers’ place and defending Clark.

Sunday’s game will be UConn’s third top-10 matchup in the last 13 days.

Some storylines:

Mühl vs. Clark

It will a battle of the point guards on Sunday. Mühl leads the nation in assists per game (10.3), while Clark is tied for 10th with 6.8 assists per game. Yet, Clark is No. 5 in the nation in points per game (26.8) and Mühl is UConn’s lowest-scoring starter averaging 4.5 points per game. The two play the position completely differently and the best defender will come out on top come Sunday.

Defense, defense, defense

UConn coach Geno Auriemma was so impressed with his team’s defense against Duke that he joked he had no defense-based complaints for his team in his postgame locker room huddle. The Huskies held Duke to a 33-field goal percentage and led 30-12 in the paint. UConn outrebounded Duke 42-26, including 32 defensive rebounds to the Blue Devils’ seven offensive boards.

"In order for you to be a really, really good defensive team, you have to have people buy in, right? You have to have people that really, really want to be good," Auriemma said. "...  Everybody's bought in for what they have to do to make our defense better."


Clark has been the face of Iowa’s program since arriving in Iowa City in the fall of 2020 as the nation’s No. 5 overall recruit (Bueckers was No. 1 in the same class).

The 2022 Big Ten Player of the Year and last year’s Nancy Lieberman award recipient finished her sophomore year as the first Division I player to lead the country in points per game (27.0) and assists per game (8.0) in a single season. Clark also recorded five triple-doubles last season.

Sunday marks Iowa’s first game this season against a ranked opponent. The Hawkeyes ran past their first two opponents this year (defeating Southern University 87-34 and Evansville 115-62), before most recently hitting a rough patch. Unranked Drake pushed Iowa into overtime before the Hawkeyes won 92-86. Iowa then responded with an 83-84 loss at Kansas State and a 73-62 win against Belmont.

Iowa was ranked No. 4 to start the year but dropped to No. 9 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll.

UConn is 5-3 all-time against Iowa after last meeting in the 2021 Sweet Sixteen (UConn won 92-72). The Hawkeyes won the teams’ first three meetings between 1883 and 1990 with their last win over the Huskies coming on Nov. 29, 1990 (Iowa won 58-41).

No. 3 UConn vs No. 9 Iowa

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

What: Phil Knight Legacy championship

Records: UConn (4-0, Big East), Iowa (5-1, Big Ten)


Radio: UConn Sports Network, WGCH 1490 AM (Greenwich), WAVZ 1300 AM (New Haven), WATR 1320 AM (Waterbury), 97.9 FM-ESPN



Player Pos. PPG.

Azzi Fudd G. 26.0

Aubrey Griffin F. 12.8

Aaliyah Edwards F. 15.5

Nika Mühl G. 4.5

Lou Lopez Sénéchal G./F. 18.0


Player Pos. PPG.

McKenna Warnock F./G. 10.2

Monika Czinano C./F. 18.8

Kate Martin G. 4.2

Caitlin Clark G. 27.0

Gabbie Marshall G. 5.0  @maggie_vanoni