Former Syracuse star Tiana Mangakahia has been waived by the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, the team announced on Wednesday. Mangakahia signed a free agent deal with the Mercury after not being selected in the 2021 WNBA Draft. 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 in the Mercury's only preseason game.
"Wow!!!," Mangakahia wrote on Instagram. "What an experience. Once of the best basketball experiences of my life. Thank you Phoenix Mercury for such an awesome time. I couldn't have asked for better vets to learn from. Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins thank you for taking me under your wings and helping me throughout the camp. Forever Grateful for the opportunity. The Marathon continues."
Mangakahia led college basketball in assists (7.2) during her final season at Syracuse, 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.