College Station, Texas • 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 ½ minutes left. Burkholder had six points and two steals in that stretch.
South Carolina 73, Cal State Northridge 58 • In Seattle, Tiffany Mitchell scored 24 points, Alaina Coates added 13, and top-seeded South Carolina took a while to pull away from No. 16 seed Cal State Northridge.
Oregon State 55, Middle Tennessee State 36 • In Seattle, Sydney Wiese made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 26 points, and ninth-seeded Oregon State ousted eighth-seeded Middle Tennessee State.
UConn 87, Prairie View A&M 44 • In Storrs, Conn., Breanna Stewart led a balanced offense with 19 points and 10 rebounds as defending champion UConn routed Prairie View A&M.
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