Tiana Mangakahia canceled by Phoenix Mercury from WNBA


Former Syracuse star Tiana Mangakahia was called off by WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury in the team’s last cuts ahead of the season start on Friday.

Mangakahia was not drafted in the WNBA three-round draft after a memorable career in Syracuse in which she displayed impressive passing and pace, followed by impressive persistence as she returned to the team after missing a year by fending off breast cancer. Her background has led League head coach Quentin Hillsman to call her “the toughest kid I’ve ever coached.”

When it was over, Mangakahia signed a training camp contract with Phoenix.

The WNBA is a notoriously difficult place to land a professional spot as there are only 12 teams with 12 spots each, meaning even players selected in the draft often find themselves unable to break through a final roster.

Former Syracuse star Brittney Sykes is currently the only former SU player on a WNBA roster, playing with the LA Sparks. Only five SU players were selected in the draft.

The international basketball scene is expected to provide plenty of opportunities and competition for Mangakahia, with most WNBA players choosing to play overseas as international basketball often pays better than the WNBA.

On Instagram, Mangakahia thanked Phoenix for the chance to attend training camp, as well as Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith for their mentorship.

Mangakahia played 15 minutes in Phoenix’s lone preseason, scoring seven points and contributing an assist. She also committed five turnovers.

In her senior year at Syracuse, she led college basketball with an average of 7.25 assists per game. She also averages 11.4 points and 4.8 turnovers.

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