SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE ATHLETICS) –
Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia is the newest member of the Australian Senior Women’s National team. Australia’s head coach Sandy Brondello announced the roster, which includes three new faces alongside Mangakahia, on Monday.
“While the core group has remained the same, we are excited to include some of our talented younger players who have shown much improvement over the past few years and deserve their selection in this squad,” Head Coach Sandy Brondello said.
Mangakahia, a native of Brisbane, is no stranger to representing her country on the international stage. In 2013, she helped lead Australia to third-place finish at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Lithuania. It was Australia’s best finish in the biennial competition since placing second in 1997.
“I just feel honored for this opportunity and I am excited to work with Coach Brondello and the team,” Mangakahia said. “It’s always been my dream of mine to play for my country in the Olympics and I am one step closer to that.”
The two-time All-ACC First Team selection attended team camp for the Senior National Team (Opals) in April 2019 before her basketball career came to a halt two months later with a Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis. In November, she was deemed cancer free after eight rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumor.
Mangakahia and Oregon’s Jaz Shelley are the only two Opals currently playing at the collegiate level in the U.S.
The Australian National team is beginning preparation for the Tokyo Olympics next summer, followed by the FIBA Asia Cup. The Opals have appeared in nine Olympic Games winning silver medals in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), and Beijing (2008). They twice won bronze in Atlanta in 1996 and London in 2012. The team won the 2006 FIBA World Championship and was a finalist in 2018.
The Opals will have home court advantage in 2022 when Sydney host’s the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.