Normally during the college basketball offseason, you hear about players and coaches on the move and teams preparing for the next season with workouts. Unfortunately, Syracuse senior guard Tiana Mangakahia will be preparing for a different season.
In a statement released by Syracuse on Monday revealed that the Austrailian guard has Stage 2 breast cancer.
“I know this will be tough, but I will get through it,” Mangakahia declared in the release. “This is just the beginning for me, and I will come out stronger. I have much more to accomplish and I hope to inspire others to overcome their own adversity just like I know I will.”
In the 2018-19 season, Mangakahia was the difference maker for Syracuse in the ACC. She averaged 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game on her way to being named a Nancy Lierberman Point Guard Award finalist. Also, the senior guard was selected to the All-ACC First Team and the All-ACC Tournament Team. Mangakahia also set the record for career assists in Syracuse women’s basketball history with 591 assists last season. Along with the career assists record, the All-ACC honoree recorded the first points-rebounds-assists triple double in program history.
“This is beatable and I will fight and win,” Mangakahia penned in the statement. “I want to thank everyone who has reached out and those who will support me moving forward. Since I decided to forgo the WNBA draft and return to Syracuse for my final year, I’ve been working hard and training so my team and I can achieve our goals. Now my focus has shifted to fighting cancer, and I will come out a stronger person.”
Tiana Mangakahia is a talented guard who has come a long way from growing up in Brisbane, Australia. She has become a standout point guard and is worth talking about as one of the top rising seniors in women’s college basketball. Although the pursuit is the same, Mangakahia is now preparing for a different opponent and is looking to come out on top.