TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – If you didn’t know Tiana Mangakahia’s name before tonight, you do know.
The Orange’s junior point guard made her case for why she is the best point guard in the nation Thursday night, matching her career high of 44 points and leading the No. 17-ranked Syracuse women’s basketball team to an emphatic 94-88 Atlantic Coast Conference road win at No. 22 Florida State. The Orange improve to 21-7 overall and 10-5 in conference play with the victory.
Mangakahia’s 44 points came on a 16-of-20 shooting performance, which included two made three-pointers, in 33 minutes of action. She was 10-of-11 from the charity stripe, hitting seven free throws in the final minute of regulation to seal the win for the Orange.
While the Australian native’s play was big for Syracuse throughout the game, her effort in the second half was jaw-dropping. After scoring 11 points in the first half to help the Orange extend a 40-39 halftime lead, she went off for 33 points over the third and fourth quarter, connecting on 12-of-15 field-goal attempts.
Her lethal shooting grew Syracuse’s lead to as large as 11 points with nine minutes left to go in fourth quarter. After Florida State fought back to tie the game at 85 with two minutes left to play, Mangakahia scored the Orange’s final nine points, clinching the victory from the free-throw line.
The Australian native facilitated Syracuse’s offense all night long, handing out a game-high eight assists to go along with her lights-out shooting. She was relentless on defense, as well, recording a game-high three steals and grabbing four of her five total rebounds on the defensive glass.
The Orange shot 62.1 percent from the floor overall, as forward Digna Strautmane and guard Kiara Lewis chipped in with double-digit scoring efforts. Strautmane scored 10 points and had six rebounds, while Lewis also scored 10. Eight of her points came in the second quarter.
The Orange finish up the regular season on the road at Boston College at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3. ACC Tournament seeds will be announced at the conclusion of Sunday’s league games.