Syracuse Orange women’s basketball star Tiana Mangakahia announced Monday she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Mangakahia, who was named to the Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention squad last season, revealed she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and will start chemotherapy Friday.
“I know this will be tough, but I will get through it,” she wrote in a story posted on Syracuse’s athletics website. “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.”
Mangakahia added: “Even though this is devastating news, I am so grateful to be surrounded by so much love and support from my 'Cuse family and staff. I've got a tremendous support system surrounding me, including Coach Q, Trishton Jackson, Miss Shandrist [Hillsman], Olivia Coiro, Oliver Haney, Sue Cornelius Edson, Dr. [James] Tucker, John Wildhack, Sandy Brondello, the Australian National Team staff, my amazing parents and brothers who have been waking up in the middle of the night to speak with me and my team of doctors. This is beatable and I will fight and win.”
She vowed to come out a “stronger person” in her fight.
Mangakahia, a 24-year-old graduate student from Australia, decided to forgo the WNBA Draft and return to the Orange for her senior season before the diagnosis. She led Syracuse with 16.9 points per game and was named to the All-ACC squad for the second time.
Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman expressed his support for his player in a statement.
“This is devastating news for Tiana and our entire Syracuse family,” he said in a statement. “Tiana is a tough lady. She will have the complete support of everyone associated with our program as she goes through her treatment. Tiana is a grinder and I know she won’t back down from this challenge.”