Casey Danielson clinched Stanford's quarterfinal win in dramatic fashion. She made sure to make it easier on herself and the team for the semifinal victory Tuesday.
The sophomore helped catapult the Stanford women's golf team into the national championship round being contested at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Danielson did the deed in both the quarterfinals against Arizona (4-1) and semifinals against USC (3-2).
Fourth-seeded Stanford, which was seventh in the league tournament earlier this season, knocked off both Pac-12 Conference foes to earn a showdown in the finals with Baylor, which beat defending champion Duke.
Making its 30th NCAA tournament appearance, Stanford will be playing for its first national crown.
"We've done a great job of staying in the present, and tomorrow we'll come out and stay the same way," Cardinal coach Anne Walker said. "We've had to really game plan for this golf course. We have that experience, we have it under our belt and we know if we stick with our plan, that's the best we can do."
Stanford recorded its quarterfinal win over fifth-seeded Arizona, getting a game-saving effort from Danielson to advance.
Danielson could have won her match against Wanasa Zhou on 18, save for a three putt. That forced extra action, and Danielson nailed a 15-footer on the par-4 10th to live another hole.
On 11, Danielson lagged a 45-footer to within a few inches and Zhou missed her par attempt to send Stanford to the semifinals.
"It was definitely draining," Walker said. "It was nail biting right to the very last putt. So yeah, sure, I think all my girls are very tired and ready to get home and rest up."
Leading by four with four holes to play against USC's Kyung Kim, Danielson gave back a pair before sticking her approach on 17 to a safe distance. Kim's drive found water and she later conceded the winning putt to Danielson.
Mariah Stackhouse got on top of Arizona's Lindsey Weaver and never trailed while handling her business. Stackhouse dropped her match with USC's Amy Lee, 6 and 4.
"All of us went out this morning with the intention to play as well as we can and the goal was to be in the semifinals match and have an opportunity to play in the final match," Stackhouse said. "My girls had my back, and that's all that matters, and we're playing in that championship match."
Lauren Kim came from behind to take Arizona's Kendall Prince in the opener. Three times Kim trailed by two holes. After the 11th, Kim won four straight holes and birdied 17 to secure the win.
Kim defeated USC's Gabriella Then, 4 and 3.
"Staying in the present and focusing on every shot makes you not think about how tired you are," Kim said. "You're focused on making a good shot every single stroke. It was a really long day, and I have blisters on my feet but focusing on making good shots and making putts one after the other, and staying in the moment helped me."
Quirine Eijkenboom fell to Manon Gidali of Arizona, 3 and 1, after being all square through nine. Eijkenboom took USC's Karen Chung to a 20th hole before falling in overtime.
Shannon Aubert was down two to Arizona's Krystal Quihuis through five, rallied to take the lead after 11 and held the Wildcat at bay while Danielson clinched her match.
Aubert later went back and forth with USC's Annie Park, and the match was all square through 12. Aubert went to work and took the next four, locking up the win on the 16th.
The final match will be televised live Wednesday on the Golf Channel.
"The last 36 holes have shown the matches you think are going to be the no-brainers are the ones that turn into the nail-biters," Walker said.
Stanford has added three players to the Class of 2019, as announced Tuesday by coach Rachel Hanson.
The Cardinal welcomes incoming freshmen Carolyn Lee, Lauren Frost and Molly Fowkes.
Lee will travel across the Bay to join the Cardinal from San Ramon, where she played at Dougherty Valley High.
She was a three-year captain, two-time all-league selection and an all-section honoree. She hit .423 with 25 RBI and was 16-8 with a 0.99 ERA as a pitcher during her senior year of high school.
Lee played club ball with Lady Magic and claimed a Boulder Independence Day Tournament championship.
Frost makes the trek to The Farm from Eagle River, Alaska, where she played baseball at Eagle River High and for the American Legion Eagle River Wolves.
She was named 2014 Cook Inlet Conference First Team All-Conference at second base, 2013-14 First Team All-USA Alaska Baseball and a 2014 First Team All-State Infield selection.
Fowkes joins Stanford from Loomis in the Central Valley, where she will graduate from Del Oro High.
She is a three-time Sierra Foothills First-Team All-League selection and two-time Sacramento Bee All-Metro Area Team honoree.
Fowkes, an outfielder who hit .439 as a junior in high school, played club ball for the Lady Magic and placed fifth at the PGF Premier National Championships in 2012 and 2014.