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Syracuse women’s basketball star Tiana Mangakahia to return for senior season

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Breathe easy, Orange Nation.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

She’s coming back.

Syracuse Orange women’s basketball point guard Tiana Mangakahia announced today via Twitter that she is returning for her senior campaign after considering declaring for the WNBA Draft.

“I feel like this team can go far next year,” Mangakahia said in the Twitter video. “We have a lot of potential, especially with the new players coming in. I also feel like we’ll be able to go far in the tournament, and when I first came to Syracuse, I had a lot of goals for this team, and I feel like I haven’t accomplished all of those goals. I feel like next year will be the year for us. To all the fans and everyone who supports us, please come out next year.”

Mangakahia, a 2019 Nancy Lieberman Award finalist, averaged 16.9 points and tallied 8.4 assists per game in the 2018-19 season. Among other program records she has already broken, she set the program record for assists (591) on March 25 versus South Dakota State, breaking Alexis Peterson’s mark of 590 in her four-year career. Mangakahia accomplished her feat in 65 career games (9.1 assists per game).

“I am extremely excited that Tiana is returning,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said in a news release. “The experience that we will have in our backcourt is exciting and promising for next year.” Read the full release here.

Some great news for Syracuse considering how the season ended earlier than expected. Mangakahia returning should set up the Orange well for a return to the NCAA Tournament once again, and hopefully more.

Follow Corey Crisan on Twitter @cdcrisan.