West Virginia Hooks Texas 68-55

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Taylor Palmer scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half and West Virginia held on after squandering most of a 15-point lead to beat Texas 68-55 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament.

The Mountaineers (24-9) led 48-33 with 10 minutes to play, then saw the Longhorns close within 51-48 with 5 1/2 minutes to go. But after West Virginia went nearly five minutes without a basket, Palmer swished a 3-pointer from the right wing.

Ashley Gayle scored 11 points and Ashleigh Fontenette 10 to lead ninth-seeded Texas (18-14), which lost its fifth consecutive tournament game.

Asya Bussie added 12 points for West Virginia, which came into the tourney after a 28-point loss to North Dame in the BIG EAST tournament semifinals.

The game was billed as a matchup of Texas's guard-oriented attack and West Virginia's size and defensive intensity, and the Mountaineers made it work even after a sloppy, turnover-filled start and foul trouble that plagued center Ayana Dunning.

Palmer player a big part with four 3-pointers, along with five rebounds and three assists.

Texas appeared to have drawn a break when Dunning, West Virginia's top rebounder, drew her fourth foul with 14:23 to play, but that's when Palmer asserted herself. She scored on a steal and fast-break layup, then hit 3-pointers 90 seconds apart. Her feed to Bussie for a layup made it 48-33 with 10:19 remaining, matching the Mountaineers' largest lead at that point.

Texas used a 15-3 run that included 3-pointers from Chelsea Bass and Yvonne Anderson to get within three, but after both teams went three possessions without scoring, Palmer broke free on the right wing and doubled the Mountaineers' margin.

When Brooke Hampton added two free throws, and Jessica Harlee scored on a driving layup and added a free-throw when she was fouled, West Virginia's lead was back up to 59-48 and Texas' game-long shooting woes sent them to another early exit.

The Mountaineers led 31-18 after closing the first half on a 22-5 run over the last 10 minutes. Texas, meanwhile, was hitting just seven of 32 shots.

Sophomore Chassidy Fussell, the Longhorns' top scorer with a 16.5 average, was scoreless and missed all six shots from the field, including at least one she heaved up to beat the shot clock. No. 2 scorer Yvonne Anderson was 0-for-4 and also didn't score.