"It's very weird," says Burge Horton, who played in France, Hungary, Italy and Greece before two years in the WNBA. "Even when we had games against each other, we never ended up playing each other. In France our first year we had a game scheduled with each other but something happened right before the game. One time, Heather got a major injury and she didn't play. She went home to California. The next time I think she was well and I was supposed to play against her and something else happened to me."
Like many identical twins, the Burges were and are close, but, athletically at least, they weren't always identical, even while teammates at Virginia. "I was more of a finesse player and Heather was a bang-'em inside center."
And they weren't on court together a lot then, either. "It was like I was starting and Heather was coming off the bench, or if I had a lot of fouls, she was in. Debbie Ryan [Virginia's head coach] alternated us a lot but only in our junior and senior years did we play a lot together." At times, Heather got a little more attention, but that only inspired Heidi to work a little harder. "It didn't hurt my feelings," Burge Horton says.
After college, they went their separate ways, if in the same general direction, playing for different teams in Europe. It was a moment many twins who've been close have to face sooner or later. "It was weird," Burge Horton remembers. "I took things as they came. I didn't take it like 'Oh, I'm losing my twin and I feel so distant, and I'm all alone.' I didn't feel like that. I was pretty confident in myself. Heather and I are very attached but we will always strive to be independent, so this was like the big break. Finally I had a chance to prove what I could do without her and she could do the same, but not in a malicious way, to prove somebody was worse than the other. It was more like you want to kind of earn your own identity and your own fame."
Burge Horton joined the Sparks in the WNBA's first year, 1997, then was taken by the Mystics in the league's expansion draft the following year. Late in the 1998 season, she suffered a back injury. Still feeling some pain from her back she reported to preseason camp the following May, only to break a finger. After four weeks, she was released by the team.
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