LAS VEGAS (AP) — Riquna Williams, a veteran WNBA player and member of last year’s championship-winning Las Vegas Aces, has been barred from the team after her arrest on felony domestic violence charges involving a person authorities identified as her wife.
A judge on Wednesday allowed Williams, 33, to be freed from jail without bail less than a day after her arrest, but said she can have no contact with her alleged victim and must comply with alcohol monitoring pending another court appearance Aug. 2.
The Aces issued a statement acknowledging Williams’ arrest and saying that she is “precluded from participating in team activities.” The Aces were traveling Wednesday and are scheduled to play in Dallas on Sunday.
“We condemn domestic violence of any kind,” the team said. “Our thoughts are with the parties involved in this situation.”
The league issued a statement saying it was gathering more information.
Williams faces five felony charges including multiple counts of domestic battery by strangulation, coercion with the threat or use of physical force and assault with use of a weapon, according to court records. She also faces four misdemeanor domestic battery charges.
The shooting guard and on-court role-player nicknamed “Bay Bay” averaged 6.7 points last season but has not played during the current season due to a back injury.
She stood silently in shackles behind security glass during her initial appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Her public defender, Ryan Bashor, told the judge that Williams has lived in Nevada for five years and “there should be no issue with a no-contact order” since the person Williams is accused of attacking “is in the process or has already relocated” out of the house.
According to a police report, officers responded about noon Tuesday to a call at a home in the upscale Southern Highlands enclave south of the Las Vegas Strip.
Williams and her wife told officers they argued about breaking up after about four years together. They married last September. The wife’s name was blacked out from the report.
Williams was accused of using her hands around her partner’s neck to choke her and of wielding a “heavy candle in one hand and (a) heavy metal stand in the other” as weapons to prevent the woman from leaving a bedroom.
Officers documented injuries including a scratch on the woman’s throat, a bruised left eyebrow and a scratch on her right thumb. The report did not say she was hospitalized.
Williams was arrested about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday outside a gym. Police said she was taken to a hospital after complaining she was the victim in the case and had “a busted lip and two black eyes.” Doctors did not find those injuries, police said.
Prosecutor Glen O’Brien cited what he called “violence and damage to the victim” and Justice of the Peace Rebecca Saxe noted the charges stemmed from acts that police said “occurred over an extended period of time.”
Williams faced league discipline in 2019 — a 10-game suspension without pay, or about one-third of the season — after an arrest on domestic-battery charges. She was playing for the Los Angeles Sparks at the time.
Among other factors, the league said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including involvement of a gun.
Bashor and Saxe said Wednesday that Williams had no criminal convictions.
Williams played for the University of Miami before she was drafted in 2012 by the Tulsa Shock. She also has played professionally overseas.
Associated Press sports writer Mark Anderson in Las Vegas contributed to this report.