They are as different on the court as they are alike off it. Donna Budd, the point guard, plays loud, drawing attention to her every move as she guides the Knights to victory. Diane Budd, the small forward, seems almost to blend into the woodwork of the milieu, losing her defenders with deceptive quickness and guile.

Together, they make Wheaton one of the best girls basketball teams in the state, a legitimate threat to add a Montgomery County Division AA championship to the A league title it garnered last season.

The two girls have a combined scoring average of 36 points per game. Donna averages 20 points, 5.8 assists and 6.8 steals.

As her sister said, "Everyone knows Donna." Donna Budd is among Maryland's best at point guard; last season she earned all-Metropolitan honors as a junior. Her 16 points per game scoring and her reputation also attract double-team coverage by opponents.

But as H.D. Woodson Coach Bob Headen commented after the Warriors beat Wheaton, "The thing you have to do is stop the twins."

"She knows where to go on the floor," said Donna, "And I know when I throw the ball that she will be there."

Each twin knows where the other is going to be the majority of the time. Most of their classes are the same, they plan to attend the same college -- wherever that may be -- and like many twins, they usually dress in identical outfits.

And when discussing basketball, they -- usually in unison -- say the same things. What else would you expect from a pair who have been playing the sport together since age 7 in the backyard with their six brothers and sisters?

There they learned the tricks of the trade, and how to play aggressively.

"We watched our older brothers and sisters play, and then we started taking it to them," said Diane. "They were taller and they blocked our shots, but they couldn't block every shot."

Neither can their present-day opponents, who by comparison have a much harder task than did the older Budd siblings when the twins were 7 years old. Diane plays an inside finesse game, using screens to get away from opponents on the base line while waiting for Donna to pass her the ball. Donna, for her part, is also in constant motion, directing the Knights' floor game.

Both can score inside or from the perimeter. "But I don't care if I score only two or three points, as long as we win," said Diane, who averaged 14 points a contest last season after scoring five a game as a sophomore reserve.

The Budds' enthusiasm for the sport and their desire to win prompted Wheaton Coach Walt Dupee to name the 5-foot-8 seniors captains before the season. In the role, they are continually active on the floor congratulating teammates, offering constructive criticism and jumping for joy after key baskets.

"He made us the captains, so we accept the responsibility," said Diane. "We all have to play together. We can't do it by ourselves. We try to keep the rest of the team going."

While they are potent on offense, the twins relish their defensive chores, as evidenced by their eyes.

Diane Budd's eyes sparkle as she shadows her assignment down the court. There seems to be a sense of triumph even before the actual victory. It is as if she knows ahead of time that if the ball comes her way, she will gain possession. Her love of the game is clearly evident.

Donna, meanwhile, exudes a glow of hope, and of anticipation. Her eyes plead with the referees for favorable calls. She dares opponents, unpretentiously, to pass the ball her way. "Mostly, I play the person with the ball," said Donna. "I'm thinking as she dribbles that we need the ball back. I want the ball."

Once with the ball, the Budds are off and running, leading Wheaton on a fast-break offense that can leave opponents winded. "We play the way we're used to playing: to take the outlet pass and run," said Diane. "And start the fast break," added Donna, who led the team with 17 points per game as a sophomore.

Often, either twin will take the ball the length of the court after a rebound, with the option of passing off for an easy layup or scoring herself. Almost always, when successful, the two will soar back to their defensive positions in celebration.

Clearly, the dimensions of their play are far-reaching, but they don't care to reach far for their college future. No matter the demand for their talents, the Budds insist they will attend school near home -- together.

"If I go somewhere, it will not be without sis. It's sort of a package deal," Donna said. "I can help her out," piped in Diane, "and she can help me."

One way Donna aids her sister is in fashion selection. Each morning usually begins, the twins said, with Donna picking out the day's apparel.

"We wear everything the same," said Diane, laughing. "In the morning, I ask her, 'What're you wearing, Budd?' "

It's not hard to tell them apart, anyway, especially on the court, but the Budd twins loom as one in the nightmares of opposing coaches -- a talented obstacle that strikes both subtly and with quickness.

As Donna said, "Whatever it takes to win."