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Chinese women to focus on rebounding in bronze showdown
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When the Chinese women take on Russia on Saturday for the Olympics basketball bronze, they would endeavor on rebounding on their way to another history-making in 16 years.

"Rebounding is the first thing," the squad's coach Tom Maher told reporters, adding "transition between offence and defence is also quite important."

Maher, who coaches the Chinese women to charge into the Olympics top eight and then top four in 16 years, believes teams with more competitiveness have more similarity.

"It's always about rebounding, power and penetration for high level basketball," he said.

After China lost to the Aussies 90-56 in the semis, both China's center Chen Nan and guard Miao Lijie cited rebounding as a factor for the loss.

"We lost a lot in rebounding," said Chen.

"There is still a gap between our strength and that of the world's best teams," Miao said. "We didn't do well in rebounds."

Working on technique improvement, the Chinese women try to bring out their best for the bronze medal match-up though they lost to the Russians at Atlanta Olympics and World Championships in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

"It has been hard process for us to come to today's position," said Chen Nan. "At least, we still have one chance. All of us are confident about that, we will never give up."

The Chinese women's team, which grabbed a silver at Barcelona 1992 and a bronze at the Los Angeles Games, placed ninth at Athens 2004.

On the match-up for the Olympics gold on Saturday, the Aussies vowed to bring their "A-game" against the Americans, the three consecutive Games titles holder.

"We have to bring our A Game," said Jan Stirling, the Australian coach. "Any team who expects to beat them has to bring their A game."

"We expect a hard physical game," she added. "We hope for a great spectacle for basketball."

The Aussies, silver medallist at both Athens 2004 and Sydney 2000, clinched the title of the 2006 World Championships.

"Everyone looks at the last two Olympic Games now, the Opals versus the US," said Stirling. "And this is our third time around and of course, we are desperate."

Australian forward Penny Taylor echoed Stirling's view, saying "we will do what we need to do to win."

"We know what we have to do," she said. "We did really well when we played them last time and we have improved since then.

"We have a lot of talent and a lot more experience," she added.

(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2008)

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