Las Vegas (May 13, 2020)— Las Vegas Aces Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Bill Laimbeer announced today that the team has finalized its 2020 coaching staff, as 14-year WNBA veteran Tanisha Wright joins Laimbeer and Assistant Coach Vickie Johnson on the sidelines.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity I have to continue my coaching career and learn from two of the best in the business in Coach Laimbeer and Coach Johnson,” said Wright. “I hope that my experience and knowledge of the game will be a strong resource in my new position with the Aces.”
“Tanisha was the ultimate competitor as a player, and I was fortunate to have her in New York,” said Laimbeer. “She prepared herself and her teammates both physically and mentally for every game, and I expect her to take that same approach as she transitions to a full-time coaching career.”
Wright retired as a player after the 2019 WNBA season, but her path to a career in coaching began in 2017 when she joined the Charlotte 49ers’ staff. Charlotte improved its win total from 14 to 18 to 21 over Wright’s three seasons, and earned a berth in the WNIT in 2018-19. The 49ers 2019-20 campaign came to an end when COVID-19 canceled the Conference USA Championship as the team was preparing for its quarterfinals game against Western Kentucky.
“UNC Charlotte and [Head Coach] Cara [Consuegra] have had a major impact on who I am as a coach,” added Wright, “and Cara has been, and will continue to be, a great mentor for me, and for that I am extremely grateful.”
Wright earned WNBA All-Defensive Team honors on seven occasions during her career (First Team—2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014; Second Team—2015, 2016), and her 457 games played are the eighth most in league history. She has also handed out the 10th most assists in WNBA history (1,422), and ranks 29th all-time in career steals (427).
The Brooklyn native played her first 10 seasons with Seattle after the Storm made her the 12th overall pick of the 2005 WNBA Draft. Wright helped lead Seattle to nine straight playoff appearances, and was a member of the 2010 Storm team that won the WNBA Championship.
Her best seasons statistically were from 2009 through 2013, when she averaged 10.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
Wright signed with the Laimbeer-helmed Liberty, ultimately playing for three seasons in New York (2015-16, 2019). She also spent one season with the Minnesota Lynx (2018).
Prior to turning pro, Wright was a three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at Penn State. She led the conference in scoring as a senior averaging 19.3 points per game, and was named a First-Team USBWA All-American.