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The Big Event // TIME FOR REVENGE

WHAT: Women's basketball gold-medal game, United States (7-0) vs. Brazil (7-0).

WHEN: 6:45 tonight.

TV: 7 tonight.

OLYMPIC HISTORY: The Americans have won gold twice (1984, 1988) in women's basketball, which debuted in 1976. They won silver in 1976 and bronze in 1992. This will be Brazil's first Olympic medal in the sport.

REVENGE FACTOR: The last time the teams met, in the 1994 World Championships semifinals, Brazil won 110-107. Brazil went on to win the gold medal, and the United States settled for the bronze. The game had much to do with USA Basketball creating a year-round national team.

ABOUT BRAZIL: Like the Americans, Brazil plays an up-tempo game.

Hortencia Marcari Oliva and Maria Paula Silva make up one of the world's best and most dynamic backcourts. They combined for 61 points in Brazil's 1994 victory over the United States and for 44 points against Ukraine in the semifinals.

ABOUT THE UNITED STATES: The U.S. team has played together for a year and is 59-0 during that span. During the Olympics, it has won all its games by at least 15 points.

The Americans, led by center Lisa Leslie and forward Katrina McClain, have dominated inside throughout the tournament. In the semifinals, they outrebounded Australia 48-25.

Leslie has scored 57 points on 26-of-37 shooting the past two games. She set a U.S. Olympic single-game record with 35 points in the quarterfinals.

Depth should help the United States today. Dawn Staley, for example, came off the bench to spark the game-sealing 22-4 run against Australia.

QUOTABLE: "We know the U.S. is favored playing at home," Brazilian center Marta Sobral said. "But we are going to steal the gold medal out of their hands right in their home."

_ SHARON GINN

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