Former University of Miami basketball star Riquna “Bay-Bay” Williams was suspended for 10 games by the WNBA because of a domestic violence allegation following a December altercation with an ex-girlfriend in Palm Beach County.
Williams, a guard with the Los Angeles Sparks, was arrested April 29 on charges of burglary with assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill. The case is still in court, but the WNBA conducted its own investigation and chose to suspend Williams.
“Among other factors, the WNBA took into account the nature and seriousness of the conduct at issue, including the involvement of a firearm,” said the league statement. Williams will be required to attend counseling in addition to the suspension without pay.
The Palm Beach County arrest report says that on Dec. 6, 2018, Williams showed up at the Pahokee home of ex-girlfriend Alkeria Davis and repeatedly hit the front door with a skateboard. She then forced her way into the house, hit Davis in the head several times and pulled her hair. After a man at the home broke up the fight, Williams allegedly went to her car, grabbed a gun, pointed it at him and said, “you’ll get all 18.” She then sped away.
Davis told police she and Williams had dated on and off for five years and broke up a month earlier.
Williams, 28, is a six-year veteran in the WNBA, was a 2015 All-Star with the Tulsa Shock and in 2013 was named the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year. She joined the Sparks in 2016 and averaged 7.1 points in 33 games.
“The Sparks have cooperated fully with the league’s investigation. As an organization, we abhor violence of any kind and specifically take domestic violence allegations very serious,” the LA Sparks said in a statement. “We will provide whatever resources we are allowed to help Riquna learn and grow from this unfortunate situation.”
The WNBA Players Association is filing a grievance on Williams’ behalf, saying the suspension is premature.
“We are disappointed with the league’s actions,” WNBPA executive director Terri Jackson said in a statement. “There is a criminal proceeding and in fairness to the player, the league could have and should have awaited its completion before taking any action. Riquna has not had a fair opportunity to fully defend herself...We will seek the arbitrator’s review.”
Williams attended UM from 2008 to 2012. Williams was the school’s fifth-leading scorer of all time with 2,148 points and helped lead the Hurricanes to the ACC championship. But her college career ended on a bad note. Her teammates voted to leave Williams home from the 2012 NCAA Tournament for “conduct detrimental to the team,” and the third-seeded Hurricanes’ lost to Gonzaga in the second round. She remained estranged from the program for some time, but had reconnected the past few years.
Earlier this summer, in an interview with the Associated Press, Williams said: “I’m just thankful to have the opportunity again, from coach [Derek] Fisher and [general manager] Penny [Toler] and the L.A. organization. It definitely has not been a distraction, mainly because you have such a positive group in L.A., starting at the top of the organization down to the players. It’s such a family feel, and the love, you can’t help but to move forward from it. Whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen, but at the same time, this is my focus.”