Tiana Mangakahia Bio: WNBA, Parents & Injury

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Thriving and yet irresistible lady, Tiana Mangakahia, has sprouted unforgettable gameplay on the court. As an athlete, she has portrayed her will, determination, and confidence in one go.

She recently put a remarkable end to her college career. Born in Australia, she played for Syracuse University. 

As for her share of the journey, she didn’t have a smooth sail. Apparently, she had her share of ups and downs when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tiana Mangakahia during a match
Tiana Mangakahia during a match

However, as the coaches explained, she took her stance to continue her work. Today she is best known even as the top finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award.

Quick Facts

Full Name Tiana Cynthia Mangakahia
Date of Birth 21 April 1995
Birth Place Meadowbrook, Queensland, Australia 
Nick Name None
Religion Christianity 
Nationality Australian 
Ethnicity White
Zodiac Sign Taurus
Age 29 years old (as of July 2021)
Height 5’6″(1.68 meters)
Weight Over 60 kg
Hair Color Dark brown 
Eye Color Dark brown 
Build Athletic 
Father’s Name Terei Mangakahia
Mother’s Name Cynthia Mangakahia
Siblings Four elder brothers and a younger brother
Education Syracuse University 
Marital Status Unmarried
Boyfriend  Triston Jackson 
Profession  Basketball player
Position  Guard
League  Atlantic Coast Conference 
Affiliations Australian Institute of Sports
Townsville Fire
Present Team Syracuse Orange Women’s Basketball team
Active Years 2011-present
Net Worth Not yet earning 
Social Media Instagram, Twitter, YouTube 
Syracuse University’s Merch  Apparel
Last Update April, 2024

Tiana Mangakahia | Early Life, Parents, and Siblings

Mangakahia (fully named Tiana Cynthia Mangakahia) was born on 21 April 1995, under Taurus’ sun sign. Born in Meadowbrook, Queensland, she is the only daughter of Cynthia Mangakahia and Terei Mangakahia.

As a matter of fact, Terei belongs to the indigenous Polynesian group of New Zealand. Apparently, he shifted to Australia from New Zealand when he was a seventeen-year-old teenager.

Furthermore, he met Cynthia in Australia, and she is a native of Queensland. 

Besides, she has five brothers, four elder ones and one younger than her. Later, growing up in Brisbane, Tiana learned to be strong and a daredevil, to be exact.

Indeed, she would play with her brothers, which wouldn’t get any easier for her. Whether it be games or bike riding, or even wrestling, Tiana depicted courage in her moves.

As per her, she would often climb a 15-foot tall pole near her house with her brothers. Even steal her brother’s friend’s bike to ride around. 

Tiana with her family
Tiana with her family

During one such event of bike riding, she lost the handle’s balance on a downhill, which cut opened her chin. However, she would be the one smiling. 

Similarly, making friends wasn’t hard for her as she would talk with everyone around. Eventually, she even started bringing every cat or chicken she saw at home. 

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Introduction to the basketball 

Like every athlete, Tiana has engaged with sports from an early age, thanks to her brothers. Well, her brothers were into basketball, and she also learned to play it alongside them.

Additionally, growing up in a large household, she got familiar with the competition and noise. Most importantly, she learned to create her own space in games or life, as her brothers always counted her as equal to them.

Also, their mother enrolled them in a basketball camp without any hopes of seeing them at the national or international level. Well, the biggest factor was for their safety.

Right after she commenced playing, she was often taken as a tiny one; however, she portrayed immense strengths and speed. Even at the age of eight, she was often described as a ninja with the techniques. 

Later, at just nine, she was chosen to play for the under-12 team. But her mother begged the coach to remove from the team and keep her in her age group. 

When Tiana recalls the moment now, she agrees with her mother’s choice and believes it shaped her to be better as she is today. 

Tiana Mangakahia | Basketball Career

Initially, Mangakahia played in her native land until her late teenage years. Apart from her homeland, the United States was quite interested in gaining her for the game.

It was only in 2015 when the Hutchinson Community College in Kansas contacted her through Facebook to play in the United States.

Additionally, a native of New Zealand, former BYU forward Kalani Purcell, also lead the recommendations for her in the college.

Having said this, she did come to the States but was on Syracuse’s radar way long before being in the Hutchinson Community College.

Later, she sat out a year as an international student and also was on the bench during her first season at Hutchinson. Afterward, she moved to play for Syracuse University and was thus, involved in it.

I never thought she would come over to the states because she was such an exceptional talent. When she surfaced at the junior college level, our staff knew exactly who she was and knew we had to get in early on her.”– Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman.

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Syracuse University

After Tiana didn’t play for the Hutchinson, Hillsman recruited her to Syracuse. Tiana stood as a top-10 finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award and First Team All-ACC as a sophomore.

By the end of her tenure as a sophomore, Tiana had maintained an average stats of 17.5 points, 9.8 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game. 

Advancing on to her junior year, Tiana became the fastest player in the program’s history to have 1,000 career points.

Overall, she maintained an average of 16.9 points, 8.4 assists, and 88.2% as the free throw percentage. 

National Team

Apart from Mangakahia’s college career, she has also contributed to international gameplay alongside her country. 

She first appeared for the Australian Institute of Sport, during which she played in Townsville Fire with Suzy Batkovic.

All in all, she made her international debut through the Sapphires. She played at the 2011 FIBA Oceania Under-16 Championship in Canberra, Australia, and even at the 2012 Under-17 World Championship in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Following it, Tiana enrolled in the Gems and features for FIBA Oceania Under-18 Championship and the Under-19 World Championship in Lithuania.

Likewise, she had the chance to make her senior debut in April 2019 with the Opals’ preliminary roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics. 

However, her health didn’t stand beside her. Well, she was also included later in the Australian Senior Women’s National Team.


The Australian player went undrafted in the 2021 WNBA Draft. Nevertheless, the Phoenix Mercury signed her to their training camp.

However, she was waived by the team in less than a month. Thereafter, the athlete went back to her country, where she joined the Northside Wizards that played in the semi-professional basketball league, NBL1 North.

Following the conclusion of her season with the Wizards, she signed a contract with a Russian team, Dynamo Moscow. 

Some of her notable highlights to date are highlighted below.

  • All-America honorable mention by Associated Press
  • WBCA All-America honorable mention
  • All-ACC First Team
  • FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Lithuania (Bronze)
  • All-ACC Tournament Team
  • FIBA Under-18 Oceania Championship in New Zealand (Gold)
  • FIBA Under-16 Oceania Championship in Australia (Gold)

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Tiana Mangakahia | Cancer

Well, 2019 wasn’t the year Tiana had expected it to be as. Of course, back then, she was expected to play her senior year in Syracuse; however, she was out for a whole season.

Instantly, her career and games took a toll after she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma). 

Before knowing her diagnosis, Tiana found a lump in her breast that freaked her out. To date, her family didn’t have anyone to struggle with the diagnosis in the heredity. 

Layer, her head coach Quentin Hillsman got her in touch with Dr. Jeffrey Kirshner at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Health Center in Syracuse, New York.

Thus, her year 2019 ended with the inclusion of several rounds of chemotherapy treatments and a double mastectomy. She even took time to enjoy, play and be with her friends. 

Tiana during her cancer treatment
Tiana, during her cancer treatment.

When Tiana started losing her hair during her early phase of cancer, she would wear wigs. But the wigs would make it more difficult for her, and later, to encourage her, all her brothers shaved their heads.


On November 6, 2019, Tiana underwent five-hour-long surgery to remove her cancerous tumor. Following it, they announced her cancer-free after they didn’t find cancerous cells in her lymph nodes. 

However, she does take the pill tamoxifen daily as a preventive measure. Even just after a month from her surgery, she had already commenced playing pickup. 

Indeed, it was a reason for her to work even harder than before. Not to mention, she has already planned to apply for a medical waiver from the NCAA to get a year of eligibility back for the 2020-21 season. 

Moreover, her eyes are more fixed on the WNBA now. Besides, Play4Kay, the annual fundraiser for cancer, now holds a much deeper meaning to her rather than just the pink t-shirts. 

“I am really proud of myself. I will play harder. You know how some people say that but don’t really mean it? Well, I feel like that’s realistic for me.”- Tiana Mangakahia 

Tiana Mangakahia | Net Worth

As of now, Tiana Mangakahia is yet to earn from her career. As a college athlete, she does get a small amount from her gameplays that cover up her expenses.

However, she is set to earn loads from her games in the future, as even now, she is ranked among the highest WNBA players.

Tiana Mangakahia | Personal Life

Currently, Tiana resides in her native land alongside her whole family. To elaborate, her house is more like a resort with beach views from a couple of balconies and the ocean itself just a road across. 

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According to the sources, Tiana Mangakahia is in a relationship with her long-term boyfriend, Triston Jackson.

Indeed, her social media platforms show no sign of her having a date. However, it is known that the duo had been together ever since their time at Syracuse University.

Tiana is said to be dating Triston Jackson
Tiana is said to be dating Triston Jackson.

Additionally, Triston is an American football wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams. Also, he is reported to sign with the team first as an undrafted free agent. 

Overall, they are said to have a strong connection going on between the two.

Social Media Presence

Apart from the loaded stuff, if your wish to follow and check out her uploads, you can get the details of her social media platforms.

Anyways, Tiana is on Instagram as Tiana Mangakahia (@tiana_mangakahia), with 19.7k followers. 

In the meantime, she is also on Twitter as Tiana Mangakahia (@Tianamanga), with 6.5k followers. Also, you can check out her YouTube channel as Tiana Mangakahia

Tiana Mangakahia | FAQs

What is Tiana Mangakahia’s major?

Tiana Mangakahia gained a bachelor’s degree in communications and rhetorical studies from the College of Visual and Performing Arts in 2019.

Additionally, as per the sources, she is currently working on her master’s degree in sports venue and event management.

Why is Tiana Mangakahia’s jersey number?

Tiana Mangakahia features in jersey number four for the Syracuse Orange Women’s Basketball team.

Rajani Gurung
Rajani Gurung
Hey, I'm Rajani! As a digital content writer, I write for several websites on a wide range of topics. At Playersbio, I cover to write about hot trending celebrities and news. My professional experience makes me write the hard topics in a simplified manner for easiness.

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