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Female Kobe?

INVESTIGATED For allegedly sexually assaulting a former WNBA
teammate, recently released Los Angeles Sparks forward Latasha
Byears. According to the Los Angeles Times, Byears, 30, and a man
allegedly sexually assaulted the victim at a party following a
Sparks victory over the Sacramento Monarchs in Los Angeles on
June 5. Citing a "personal matter," Byears left her teammates in
Sacramento before their next game, on June 7, and was waived
three days later. Her dismissal shocked the Sparks, who have won
the past two WNBA championships thanks in part to the bench play
of the 5'11", 200-pound Byears, a seven-year vet. "We were like
'What? Why?'" forward DeLisha Milton told the Los Angeles Daily
News. "We had a lot of questions." Last week the Los Angeles
County district attorney's office confirmed that they are looking
into the alleged assault. "The case is still under
investigation," a spokesperson for the DA's office told SI on
Monday. "There's no telling when it will end." The Sparks say
they are cooperating with the investigation. (As of Monday,
Byears, who could not be reached for comment, had not been

In a preseason GQ profile Byears described herself as "the
roughest player in the WNBA," and her actions on and off the
court have supported that assertion. In 2002 she was suspended
for one game after pleading no contest to reckless driving and
for two games after throwing a ball at an opposing player. But
her physical play won her many admirers. Before the season WNBA
G.M.'s voted Byears the league's most underrated player, and
former Sparks teammate Lisa Leslie told GQ, "Without [Byears], we
don't win, and that's both championships." --Chris Ballard

COLOR PHOTO: KIRBY LEE-LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM/AP (BYEARS) OFF THE TEAM Byears could be charged with sexual assault.