WNBA
Associated Press 54d

Sparks' Williams not distracted by court case

WNBA, Los Angeles Sparks

NEW YORK -- Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams is focused on the upcoming season, not her court case. 

"I'm just thankful to have the opportunity again, from coach [Derek] Fisher and [general manager] Penny [Toler] and the L.A. organization,'' she told the Associated Press before the Sparks' season opener in Las Vegas on Sunday. "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.'' 

 

Williams has appreciated the support from her teammates, as well.

"Not that any of them been there before, but they trust me, they fully understand,'' she said.

According to an arrest report, Williams forced her way inside the home of her ex-girlfriend Alkeria Davis in December and repeatedly struck her on the head and pulled her hair. Two men told Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies they spent 10 minutes trying to break up the fight.

When they finally separated the women, authorities said, 28-year-old Williams grabbed a firearm from her blue Camaro, placed it on the trunk and pointed it at one man, saying, "You'll get all 18'' before speeding off.

Davis said she and Williams had been together on and off for five years and had broken up a month earlier. She said Williams had never been violent in the past.

Williams was booked April 29 for burglary and aggravated assault charges. She pleaded not guilty on May 6, and a hearing is set for June 6. The impending court date isn't on her mind.

"There's really nothing to think about,'' Williams said. "If Penny didn't believe that and the L.A. Sparks organization did not believe that, I'm sure I would not be here, so I don't even think about it, I don't even think twice about it. I come in, I work hard every day for myself and my teammates and I let the rest be.''

The Sparks re-signed Williams on May 15.

"The day she showed up, she let us know that she was focused, she was committed to being here,'' coach Derek Fisher said. "What she has had to deal with in the past, we can't control that process, that'll play out, we can't do anything about that. All we can ask of Riquna is that, from the time that she's gotten here, she can control who she is, how she handles herself. She's been focused from the jump. She doesn't appear to be distracted.''

Williams is expected to miss the team's game against Connecticut on the night of the court hearing. The league told the AP through a spokesperson on Sunday night that "the matter is under active investigation, and we have nothing to report at this time.''

Williams was first acquired by the Sparks in a 2016 offseason trade with the Dallas Wings. Last season, she played in 33 games and averaged 7.1 points, shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. She started in both playoff games and scored 17 points in the Sparks' first-round win over the Minnesota Lynx.

Williams was drafted in 2012 by Tulsa and the next year set the then-record for most points in a single game when she scored 51 against San Antonio. Williams has averaged 10.8 points and was an All-Star in 2015. She was the league's sixth person of the year in 2013.

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