In her first game since recovering from breast cancer, Tiana Mangakahia led the Syracuse women’s basketball team to a season-opening victory.
It had been 615 days since Mangakahia last played alongside her Syracuse teammates. But the 5-foot-6 guard looked as if no time had passed, scoring a team-high 16 points with seven rebounds and three assists in the 50-39 win at Stony Brook.
“I was very emotional and I couldn’t believe this day was here,” Mangakahia told reporters after the game.
Mangakahia, who is listed as a fifth-year senior on the team’s official roster, shot 4-for-13 from the field and tied for a game-high 36 minutes. As the Orange’s all-time assists leader, Mangakahia’s first play of the game was obviously a stellar dish to Amaya Finklea-Guity for a layup.
“I’m just so grateful that she has the opportunity to play again,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said during his post-game press conference. “Some people lose their life and she’s here and playing for us. I’m very thankful and grateful.”
Mangakahia and the 23-ranked Orange have their home opener on Wednesday night against Lincoln.