WNBA

SU women’s basketball star Tiana Mangakahia not selected in WNBA draft

Syracuse, N.Y. — Tiana Mangakahia, the all-time leader in assists for the Syracuse women’s basketball program, was not selected in the WNBA Draft on Thursday night.

Mangakahia, a 5-foot-6 guard from Brisbane, Australia, was originally projected as the No. 27 pick by ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel.

WNBA rosters feature a maximum of 12 players, which makes it difficult for even second and third round draftees to make final rosters. 18 of the 36 players selected during the draft are listed as guards.

Only five players in program history have been drafted to the league: Brittany Sykes, Kayla Alexander, Beth Record, Brianna Butler and Alexis Peterson.

Texas center Charli Collier was selected first by the Dallas Wings, who also picked Awak Kuier (Finland) with the second pick. Arizona point guard Aari McDonald was drafted with the third overall pick by the Atlanta Dream.

Mangakahia’s career at Syracuse is one that will long be remembered by the Central New York community, and anyone familiar with her journey.

The former Syracuse star totaled 1,341 career points, 746 assists and 247 rebounds in three seasons with the Orange. She averaged 15.8 points through 85 games and matched her career-best scoring mark of 44 points twice.

Mangakahia set the program record for assists in a game (17) against Vanderbilt in 2017 and finished as the NCAA’s leader in assists per game in two of her three seasons with the program, including this season when she averaged 7.2 assists in 20 games.

Mangakahia was known on the court for being a natural facilitator with an ability to shoot from deep, but her national presence grew even larger off the floor when she courageously fought stage 2 beast cancer, which caused her to miss the 2019-20 season.

She made her return to the lineup on Nov. 29 after 615 days away from competitive basketball and led all scorers with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists against Stony Brook. She totaled 11.4 points per contest this season.

Mangakahia, 25, is represented by Fabio Jardine of 1st Pick Basketball Management, which also counts the ninth overall pick Rennia Davis (Minnesota Lynx) and No. 24 pick Trinity Baptiste (Indiana Fever) among his clients.

The Atlantic Coast Conference had three players selected in Thursday’s draft, including Stephanie Watts, (North Carolina), Dana Evans (Louisville) and Ivana Raca (Wake Forest).

The WNBA is entering its 25th season, which will begin on May 14.

Contact Mike Curtis anytime: Email | Twitter

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