ABILENE, Texas (BCHSports)–The Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls are headed back to the NCAA Division III Championships.

After a heartbreaking loss in the American Southwest Conference semifinals, the Cowgirls had to wait three days to hear their name called for an at-large berth in the tournament.

Head coach Kendra Whitehead said, “Hey we’re excited. Not earning the automatic bid coming into these, you’re just hopeful and we’re just super excited that we get to keep playing and I really believe these girls have earned that. It’s one of the best regular seasons in Cowgirl history, so I’m just thankful that the NCAA committee saw that as well and we get to keep playing.”

Natasha Blizzard said, “We feel really good, just excited to get into the tournament and get another opportunity to play basketball this late, we’re all very happy but we were just hoping for the opportunity and we’re so happy that we got it. “

The Cowgirls will face the Redlands Bulldogs, out of California, on Friday in San Antonio at Trinity University at 5:30 p.m.