By season's end, Heidi and Heather Burge hope to see the name of the Virginia Cavaliers listed in the NCAA record book alongside other women's basketball national champions. For now they will have to settle for a plug in the "Guinness Book of World Records."

The Burges, 6-foot-4 3/4 twins from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., are listed in the 1991 edition as "tallest identical female twins."

"I think my parents are the ones that should be in there," said Heidi, by minutes the younger of the sophomore sisters. "They're the ones that created us; we didn't do anything."

The idea of entry into the book came from the Burges's grandfather, who discovered the tallest twins in the previous edition were 6-1. The twins passed on the information to the Virginia sports information office, which contacted Guinness representatives. Before their entry was guaranteed, "We had to have a picture taken in front of a ruler and we had to get doctor's verification," Heather said.

Page 8 of the amended 1991 record book features a photo of the twins, sent by the Burges's grandparents.

"It was all spur of the moment," Heather said. "I don't know if there are any {taller} ones."

The prestige of being in the Guinness book dissipated as the Cavaliers (1-0) have begun to concentrate on upholding their preseason No. 1 ranking.

Virginia posted a 29-6 record en route to its first Final Four appearance last season, and much of the credit was given to the Burges. When they selected Virginia (over Duke and Vanderbilt), a program that had lacked a true impact post player suddenly had two.

"It would have been difficult to get that far {to the Final Four} without the size," Cavaliers Coach Debbie Ryan said.

It was a long road to Charlottesville for the Burges. Entering Palos Verdes High, both thought their futures were in volleyball. But their father told the twins -- approximately 6-2 at the time -- they should try basketball.

They took up the sport as freshmen -- and took their lumps.

"We were so out of it we didn't know there was an offense and a defense, that's how bad we were," Heidi said. "We couldn't make a layup if you brought the rim down to seven feet. We had so many offensive rebounds because we would brick it off the backboard to each other. When we finally made a layup, it was like, 'Yea.' We were celebrating and the coach yelled, 'Get back on defense.' We didn't even know."

They improved rapidly, and letters began pouring in from recruiters. In their season season, Heidi averaged 23.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 3.4 blocks and Heather averaged 20.4, 12.5 and 4.

Heather and Heidi already had decided to attend the same college. "We wanted a top academic school with a good athletic program," Heidi said. "When we finally decided between here, Duke and Vanderbilt, we looked at how they needed us. It definitely looked like {Virginia} needed us."

Ryan didn't expect much from her new recruits, whom she saw as raw talents, and she admits she was stunned by their immediate impact. "I really wasn't expecting them to be that big contributors," she said.

Said Heidi: "She really thought it was going to take us until our second year. I think she thought that because we were having a difficult time adapting to the post play."

They obviously adapted: Heather averaged 12.2 points and 6.7 rebounds, Heidi 8.2 and 6.4. Ryan's surprise was matched only by the Burges's amazement at making the Final Four.

The only thing that caught the twins off-guard was the physical play of ACC basketball.

"It was so much more physical" than high school, Heidi said. "Now we know how to handle it, being able to take the beating."

Said Ryan: "They're just out there hitting people. They learned how to hit back."