The women’s basketball world is quickly learning that Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia is one of the top players in the country and Wednesday’s announcement of the John Wooden Award midseason top 25 list verifies it. Mangakahia is one of 25 players, including five from the Atlantic Coast Conference, on the list.
The John R. Wooden Award, presented annually to the most outstanding women’s college basketball player, will be announced at the College Basketball Awards on April 12. The top 25 will be pared down to 20 later in the season before a list of 15 finalists is revealed ahead of the NCAA Tournament. Last year, South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson was the winner.
Mangakahia is putting up consistent numbers in her second season with the Orange after setting a program and ACC record for assists in a season with 304 last year. She led the country in assists per game (9.8) as a sophomore. Through the first 15 games the Brisbane, Australia, native has guided Syracuse to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. She is averaging 16 points and 7.9 assists per game and adds five rebounds and 2.4 steals per game.
She scored a season-high 27 points in this past Sunday’s overtime win at No. 25 Virginia Tech. She dished a season-high 15 assists against Niagara on Dec. 17 and had a double double (20 points, 10 rebounds) in Syracuse’s overtime win against No. 16 DePaul. Mangakahia made a reverse layup at the buzzer to win the game.
Mangakahia and the Orange return to action for the ACC home opener on Sunday, Jan. 13 versus North Carolina on RSN at 3 p.m. It’s Girl Scout Day in the Carrier Dome where the Girl Scouts of NYPENN will host CookieWow, the official kick-off of the cookie-selling season, in the back court. Tickets are available online.