Basketball community rallies around Mangakahia

June 16, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The basketball family and people from right around the world are wrapping their arms around Tiana Mangakahia.

The Sydney Flames and Opals guard announced her retirement last week after scans revealed the breast cancer she fought in 2019 had returned as stage four cancer.

In less than 24 hours, more than $12,000 has been raised for the 28-year-old through a My Cause fundraising page.


Flames teammate and long-time best friend Vanessa Panousis says the wave of support has been overwhelming and heartwarming.

“T has had so many messages of support and people asking how she’s going and how they can help, so this is a platform and way for people to get behind her,” Panousis said.

“T is such a vibrant, outgoing character and that shows with all the support she’s receiving.

“There’s not one ounce of negativity with her, she’s always positive and that’s how she will tackle this horrible disease.

“T is so loved by everyone and even those who haven’t met her can tell the kind of person she is from watching how she plays.”

Mangakahia was set to be part of the Opals side which will play on home soil in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in Sydney this month.

She was a member of the bronze-medal-winning Australian team at the 2021 tournament.

With two strong NBL1 campaigns under her belt, the Queensland product produced an impressive breakout WNBL season with the Flames in 2022-23 where she averaged 13.1 points per game, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists and finished the season as one of the league’s most in-form players.

Sporting greats are also rallying behind the Syracuse alum with a sporting auction.

Items include signed Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm WNBA jerseys, a signed 2022 FIBA World Cup basketball signed by the Opals, a range of Olympic uniforms including Opal Marianna Tolo’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic body suit and a top from four-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer Cate Campbell plus several AFL and AFLW jumpers.

Details will be posted on Basketball Australia and WNBL social channels in the coming weeks.

Support Mangakahia here.