Natalie Nakase joined the Aces coaching staff as the team’s First Assistant in February of 2022, helping lead the Las Vegas to its first WNBA Championship.
Prior to joining the Aces, Nakase worked with the Los Angeles Clippers organization for 10 seasons under Tyronn Lue, Doc Rivers, and Vinny Del Negro. She started as a video intern under Vinny Del Negro, where she became close to players like Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, & JJ Redick. A few years later, she was able to climb the ladder to assistant video coordinator with Doc Rivers. In 2017, she spent a year as Agua Caliente assistant coach under Casey Hill, before becoming the player development/assistant coach for the LA Clippers for three seasons.
Nakase was a walk-on at UCLA, and worked her way into the starting lineup at point guard and team captain for three seasons.
After graduation, she played professionally for two years in the NWBL with the San Jose Spiders and San Diego Siege. Nakase also spent one season in Germany, but a knee injury ended her playing career.
She chose to remain in Germany, beginning her coaching career as the head coach of the Wolfenbüttel Wildcats (2008-10), and later traveled to Japan to be an assistant coach for a professional men’s team, the Tokyo Apache (2010-11) lead by Bob Hill.
The following season, Nakase joined the Saitama Broncos staff, taking over as head coach midway through the year, making her the first female head coach in the league’s history.