Tiana Mangakahia stars for Syracuse in first game since breast cancer recovery

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.

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