KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Texas showcased a balanced attack with each starter scoring in double figures as the seventh-seeded Longhorns ousted No. 10 Missouri 79-66 in the opening round of the Big 12 women's tournament Tuesday.
The Longhorns (19-12) have taken out the Tigers (13-18) in the first round each of the last four years. Texas moves on to face Texas A&M in the quarterfinals.
The Longhorns took a 45-29 rebounding advantage and looked like a team hungry to impress the NCAA selection committee.
"We're trying to make the NCAA Tournament right now, so that's a lot of motivation for us," said Kathleen Nash, who led the Longhorns with 16 points. "We have a lot of urgency because of that."
Chassidy Fussell finished with 13 points, Yvonne Anderson 12 points and Ashleigh Fontenette 11 while Ashley Gayle grabbed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns.
If Texas can come up with a strong effort against the Aggies, they'll bolster their case for an NCAA bid.
"I think we're in," said Texas coach Gail Goestenkors. "But again, you never want to take anything for granted."
The Tigers trailed by 15 at the break and cut the deficit to nine with a 6-0 surge as the second half opened. But Texas revved it up again and maintained a double-digit lead down the stretch.
Goestenkors said she was encouraged by the way her Longhorns kept holding off Missouri.
"They are an excellent team and they never give up," Goestenkors said of the Tigers. "I'm just proud and pleased to be moving forward."
Missouri hopes to use this season as a building block as coach Robin Pingeton heads into her second season.
"You just want it so bad," said RaeShara Brown, who led Missouri with 18 points.
Shakara Jones added 14 points, Christine Flores 13 and Sydney Crafton 10 for the Tigers.
Texas set the tone by shooting 59.4 percent in the first half while racing to a 48-33 lead. The blistering pace was fueled by Nash, Anderson and Gayle, who combined to hit 12 of 17 shots.
The Longhorns committed just four turnovers in the first half.
"Our seniors have been outstanding this year," Pingeton said. "We went down fighting and working hard."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)