Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse University’s star women’s basketball point guard, revealed that she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer on July 1, 2019. The soon-to-be senior from Brisbane, Australia, had just recently finished up her season where she lead the team in assists and points. She chose to return to Syracuse for her senior year instead of entering the WNBA draft. When she publicly announced the news her fans were heartbroken. Coach Quentin HIllsman shared on twitter, ̈Tiana is a tough lady. She will have the complete support of every associated 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.¨
Fast forward to October 11, she completed her last chemotherapy with all her teammates there to support her.
¨This is only the beginning for me and I will come out much stronger,” Tiana says. “I have much more to accomplish…”
All fans are hopeful that Tiana will be able to play this season and rule the court with her teammates. I happened to be lucky enough to have the chance to ask her a few questions about herself and her journey. So here you have it, a once-in-a-lifetime interview with Tiana Mangakahia.
THE WARRIOR: What ́s a typical day like for you when you aren’t playing basketball?
TIANA: Today I didn’t have much. I woke up at 7am and then I went straight to class from 9:30 to 11 and now I don’t have anything until 8pm which is team walkthrough for an hour.
THE WARRIOR: Who was your biggest influence on your passion for basketball?
TIANA: The biggest influence in my life and basketball was my family. I love them so much and every time I play, I play for my 5 brothers and my parents.
THE WARRIOR: What made you choose Syracuse University?
TIANA: There were many reasons why I chose Syracuse. The main reason was because of the program and the style of play Coach Q (Quentin Hillsman) likes. I felt at home during my visit.
THE WARRIOR: What is the most important lesson you´ve learned over the past year?
TIANA: The most important lesson I have learned over the past year is that everybody goes through things and to always be nice and friendly because you never know what someone is going through.
THE WARRIOR: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
TIANA: In 10 years I see myself playing basketball at the professional level and hopefully have a family and a husband.
THE WARRIOR: Any final words for girls who may have to overcome a challenge in their life?
TIANA: Patience is key. So many things will happen throughout your life and it’s important to be patient… It will all fall into place!
Tiana Mangakahia serves as an inspiration to all the young female athletes. She embodies a strong athlete who can overcome any challenge. For all the fans, tune into Syracuse women’s basketball this season to watch the team demolish all its opponents. Tiana is unsure if and when she can return to the court. Nonetheless, Ohio University, you don’t know what’s coming for you in the season opener November 5 in the Dome.