The star point guard is planning a comeback in 2020-21, pending NCAA approval
Syracuse senior guard Tiana Mangakahia announced Tuesday she will sit out the 2019-20 season as she completes treatment for breast cancer.
Her goal is to return to the court for the 2020-21 season, assuming the NCAA grants her another year of eligibility.
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Mangakahia announced her diagnosis on the Syracuse athletics website in July, writing, “I know this will be tough, but I will get through it. 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.”
Prior to the 2019 WNBA Draft, Mangakahia’s name was floated alongside Jackie Young, Sabrina Ionescu and others as a potential early entrant. However, she decided to remain at Syracuse for her senior season. Her diagnosis came about a month and a half later, in mid-June.
Mangakahia has undergone four of eight chemotherapy treatments and said in Tuesday’s press conference that she is staying positive throughout her treatment.
Although Tuesday was her first time discussing her cancer in this setting since announcing her diagnosis, Mangakahia has been active on social media. She tweets treatment updates, retweets Syracuse sports news and shares inspirational quotes; there’s also a hashtag in her honor, #Tough4T. In addition, she’s posted a handful of new photos of herself to Instagram over the past few months.
Being open about discussing her cancer has helped her feel less alone as she undergoes treatment away from her native Australia, but it’s also helped others.
“I get messages from other people saying they’ve been through it or they know somebody going through it and really just show them the strength that you can have going through it instead of just looking at the downside,” Mangakahia said.
This coming year, Mangakahia plans to take classes and be around the team as much as possible as she finishes chemotherapy and mounts her comeback.
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