Shooting for the STARZ
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

By Jill Cueni-Cohen

Roll! Shoot! Score!

Ordinary basketball takes on a whole new dimension when it's played by teams in wheelchairs.

"Wheelchair basketball really is a game of inches," said Diana Helt, 19, as she strapped herself into a wheelchair built specifically for playing basketball. The chair lacks handles and is able to make hairpin turns and quick stops.

"You want to get your chair in the way of [an opponent's] chair, and whether or not you have wheel position depends on a fraction of an inch," said Helt, of Ross. "You want to be able to get away fast."

Helt, a freshman who is studying sports management at Slippery Rock University, is a member of the Steel City Starz, the only women's team in Pennsylvania sanctioned by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

Helt has cerebral palsy. She is able to walk but usually uses a wheelchair to get around Slippery Rock's sprawling campus.