SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Syracuse point guard Tiana Mangakahia announced that she has Stage 2 breast cancer Monday.
The senior said she will begin chemotherapy this week and then would undergo surgery after that.
"I know this will be tough, but I will get through it," she said in a statement. "This is just the beginning for me, and I will come out stronger. I have much more to accomplish and I hope to inspire others to overcome their own adversity just like I know I will."
Mangakahia was second in the country with 8.4 assists per game last season. She also averaged 16.9 points and 4.9 rebounds to lead the Orange to a 25-9 record. They were 11-5 in the ACC and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 24-year-old graduate student decided to return for her last season at Syracuse instead of turning pro and entering the WNBA draft. She said that she found a lump on her left breast over a month ago and had it checked out. She got the results back on June 18 that revealed the cancer.
"This is beatable and I will fight and win," she wrote. "I want to thank everyone who has reached out already and those who will support me moving forward. Since I decided to forgo the WNBA draft and return to Syracuse for my final year, I've been working hard and training so my team and I can achieve our goals. Now my focus has shifted to fighting cancer, and I will come out a stronger person."