COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — James Madison coach Kenny Brooks was enjoying breakfast on Sunday morning when he got a text from the team’s trainer that put an immediate damper on his big day.
He learned that Kirby Burkholder, the Colonial Athletic Association player of the year, had been up most of the night ill with an upset stomach.
But he was well aware of how tough she was and knew “if anybody could push through it, Kirby could.”
And she did.
Burkholder had 28 points with 18 rebounds to lead No. 11 seed James Madison to a 72-63 win over sixth-seed Gonzaga the first round of the NCAA tournament for its first tournament win since 1991.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Brooks, who was on the James Madison’s men’s team the last time the women got a tournament victory. “It just shows you how tough she is.”
Burkholder said she felt better after filling up with fluids all day Sunday.
“I just tried to put that aside and just play through it,” she said. “I was tired but I was just trying to just play hard.”
A 3-pointer by Shaniqua Nilles put Gonzaga up by four points before James Madison (29-5) used a 12-0 run to take a 59-51 lead with 3
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