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June 29, 2006 at 9:58 AM

Izzy coping

Brazilian Iziane Castro Marques sat in the team’s locker room at the Staples Center examining film of herself prior to the Storm’s dominating win over Los Angeles on Wednesday. Castro Marques, a 6-foot small forward, was given the film and laptop by the Storm staff and told to look at what she did in Seattle’s season-opener against the Sparks — when she was 5 for 5 from the field for 11 points and three assists — in hopes of rekindling that style of play. She has been in a slump since, averaging 2.3 points on the road, and was demoted to the bench on Tuesday. Rookie Barbara Turner, an aggressive 6-foot forward from Connecticut, replaced her in the starting rotation.
Although Castro Marques did start against the Sparks on Wednesday because forward Lauren Jackson was out (shins), Storm coach Anne Donovan said her first lineup change of the season due to causes other than injuries was permanent.
The personalized film session seemed to work. Castro Marques played 19 minutes against the Sparks, her most time on the court since the Storm defeated Chicago at home on June 7 when she played 30 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4 for 7 shooting. Yet, she’s said she’s concerned about her status in Seattle.
“I was upset because I had been a starter since I got here, so being out of the starting lineup was a big thing for me,” said Castro Marques, who was picked up as a free agent in 2005 after being out of the league in 2004. “But we have to do what’s best for the team. If not being a starter is going to help us, then that is what I have to be prepared for and try to do my best when I’m on the court.”
Donovan said she kept Castro Marques in the lineup for so long, especially with the Storm struggling to find consistency, because she didn’t want the Brazilian to lose confidence. Castro Marques agreed that it’s a concern.
“About confidence, it’s like, if you’ve been a starter and your coach sits you down for a reason of course that makes you think about your confidence because something is wrong,” she said. “I’m not on the bench because it’s the best option. Coach asked me to watch tape and [I see] I was flowing, running a lot and very aggressive going to the basket [in the season opener]. I need to do that.”
She did attack the basket against the Sparks on Wednesday and without All-Star Lisa Leslie in the lineup due to foul trouble, Castro Marques was able to contribute nine points on 4 for 9 shooting. And that was as a starter. If Jackson is out for an extended time (the Storm has two games remaining before the All-Star break), Castro Marques will remain in the lineup, otherwise it’s back to the bench.
The Brazilian spirit isn’t hindered, however. The day Castro Marques was demoted, she exited shoot around at KeyArena draped in the Brazilian flag and wearing her country’s colors from head to toe in honor of the World Cup. She has met some of the soccer players in the past and is already teasing Storm teammate Edwige Lawson-Wade about this weekend’s matchup between Brazil and France. The international players are roommates on the road.
“Another teammate to play!” said Castro Marques, whose country already defeated Jackson’s native Australia. E is more into it so we do talk about it, yes, because we’re going to be enemies on Saturday.”
Bottoms up!
At first it looked like a normal stretching move. The Sparks, as particular fashion, lined up along the halfcourt line with their feet spread wide and bent over reaching for the court, some players able to put their hands on the ground. But after about five minutes and a little rump wiggling while the Storm was on the court stretching just feet from the Sparks, it became clear Los Angeles was quasi-mooning the visitors.



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