Former Syracuse star point guard Tiana Mangakahia made her WNBA preseason debut on Saturday. She scored seven points on 2-4 shooting (3-3 from the free throw line), had one rebound, one assist, one steal and five turnovers in 15 minutes as the Phoenix Mercury fell 88-71 to the Seattle Storm. This was the lone preseason game for the Mercury, who will scrimmage with Seattle on Monday. Their first regular season game is on May 14th against the Minnesota Lynx.
Mangakahia signed with the Mercury as an undrafted free agent last month after not being selected in the three round WNBA Draft. She is now trying to make the Mercury's roster. Phoenix announced three players that had been cut Saturday evening, and Mangakahia was not among them.
Mangakahia led the nation in assists (7.2) this past season, her first after returning from battling stage two breast cancer. She is the ACC's all-time leader in career assists per game.
One of the best players in college basketball during the 2018-19 campaign, she had to deal with the toughest opponents of her life during the following offseason when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2019. She received a phone call one morning from her doctor to reveal the diagnosis.
Between July and October, Mangakahia underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy to battle the disease. During a five hour surgery in November, doctors removed what remained of the tumor. They did not find cancer cells in what was removed, and she was diagnosed as cancer free.
After missing the entire 2019-20 season while she recovered, Mangakahia returned to the court one year after being declared cancer free. She led Syracuse to a season opening win at Stony Brook and scored 16 points in the victory.
Mangakahia is a two time Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award top 5 finalist, and three time top 10 finalist. She is a two time WBCA All America Honorable Mention. She finished her Syracuse career averaging 15.8 points and 8.7 assists per game.