Tiana Mangakahia, a former women’s basketball standout at Syracuse, has retired from basketball after being diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer.
The Brisbane, Australia, native announced her retirement Sunday on social media. After competing for Syracuse from 2017 to 2021, she returned to Australia to play professionally.
In June 2019, during her time at Syracuse, Mangakahia was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. She stayed in Syracuse for treatment, having a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. After being declared cancer free, she returned to play 20 games during the 2020-21 season.
She averaged 15.8 points, 8.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds during her three years playing for the Orange.
I’m very lucky to have the best family and support system as I tackle this next phase of my life. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/k04IFsileB— Tiana Mangakahia (@Tianamanga) June 5, 2023
I’m very lucky to have the best family and support system as I tackle this next phase of my life. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/k04IFsileB
“Without going into too much detail, I have recently been diagnosed with stage IV cancer, which has spread into other areas of my body,” Mangakahia posted Sunday. “Sadly, I have been informed by specialists it’s time for me to retire and think about life after being a professional athlete.
“While my basketball journey on court has come to a close, this won’t be the last time you see me involved in the sport. Even though my journey is uncertain, what I am certain about is my passion for life and bringing greater awareness throughout the community about this nasty disease.”
Mangakahia intends to pursue a career in coaching, she said Sunday.
“The experiences I have endured and the amount of joy this amazing sport has brought me is too overwhelming to explain,” she wrote. “I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey. There have been ups and downs throughout my career and life. I know regardless of this horrible disease, I will continue to be ME and surround myself with those who love and support me.
“Cancer does scare me, but not living my life to the fullest scares me even more.”