WNBA prospect, Syracuse PG Tiana Mangakahia is cancer free, team says

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 25: Tiana Mangakahia #4 of the Syracuse Orange sits on the bench prior to the game against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 25, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Tiana Mangakahia is cancer free, the team said, after five months of chemotherapy. (Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia, one of the nation’s best point guards, is officially cancer free, the team announced Thursday on Twitter.

Mangakahia, 24, underwent a successful surgery after five months of chemotherapy for breast cancer.

The native Australian announced on July 1 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, specifically Grade 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She said she noticed a lump on her breast and got it checked out in June, two months after the senior decided to stay one more year in Syracuse rather than enter the WNBA draft.

She was a projected second-round pick after leading Syracuse with 16.9 points and 8.4 assists per game. Her return to the Orange coupled with Sabrina Ionescu’s decision to stay another year in Oregon set up an exciting competition for the nation’s best point guard in 2019-20. Instead, fifth-year senior Mangakahia will sit out for the season and apply for an extra year of eligibility that the NCAA should grant.

Head coach Quentin Hillsman spoke with the ACC Network after the Orange’s season-opening win at the Dome on Tuesday night. Mangakahia was on the sideline with the team.

“I wouldn’t say battling breast cancer, she’s been beating breast cancer. She’s been tearing it up,” he said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have sported “Tough 4 T” apparel and hashtags. The community has also rallied around her as she’s won this battle.

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