PORTLAND, Ore. — Nika Mühl only chews mint-flavored gum.

No strawberry or classic bubble gum. Just mint.

“I don’t like all those childish flavors,” she said Sunday afternoon.

If you’ve watched a UConn women’s basketball game over the last four years, you’ve probably seen Mühl make unbelievable no-look passes and bully opponents’ top players on defense.

Why Nika Mühl chews mint gum during UConn women's basketball games

You’ve also probably seen a little blue or green ball of gum in her mouth. The senior point guard chews a piece during each game and practice to help calm her nerves. She’ll do the same on Monday when No. 3 seeded UConn faces No. 1 USC in the Elite Eight at the Moda Center.

“I am a person that likes to like do things,” Mühl said. “You’ll see me doing this (fidgeting with her hands) all the time. I don’t like to stay still, and I’ve always been like that. So, having gum in my mouth just helps me not stay still in those still moments of the game, if that makes sense.”

Mühl said she’s never choked on it and just a few times has it accidentally fallen out mid-game/practice.

“Maybe one time I think last year (it came out), but I just like played it off,” Mühl said with a laugh. “I just kept playing. I don’t think anybody knows.”

Breath Mints Or Chewing Gum | Longmont Complete Dentistry

She doesn’t care about the brand of gum and always swaps a piece out for a new one once it loses its flavor.

“I don’t know, number wise how much, but I would say once it starts losing its taste, flavor I’m done. Like I need the next one,” she said.

Some players avoid chewing gum during games for the fear of choking, others find it gives them something to fidget with privately during tense moments on the court.

“I think I did once, and I choked,” freshman guard KK Arnold said. “So, we’re not gonna do that again. … I don’t know how she (Mühl) does it sometimes. But she always stays locked in on the defensive end, and I know she gets hit to the ground and when she goes to the ground, I always wonder, ‘How is she still chewing?’ But she’s still going.”

While associate head coach Chris Dailey has been known to keep the team in line and make sure they’re appropriately presented at all times, she doesn’t care about the gum chewing.

However, she’s ready just in case the situation turns south.

“I don’t worry about that,” Dailey said. “… I never even gave it any thought. I think a lot of our kids chew (gum). We have a big supply of it at practice and at games. … I do know the Heimlich maneuver and I do know CPR so I can help with either of those situations.”