The Colorado women's basketball team is heading in the wrong direction and won't get a better opportunity the rest of the season to turn the tide than today against No. 4 Stanford.

Coach Linda Lappe was left searching for answers Friday night after watching her team surrender a nine-point lead in the final 4 minutes to give away what would have been its first win over a ranked team this season. No. 19 Cal came storming back after it seemed the Buffs were in control most of the night to capture victory from the edge of defeat.

It was the third loss in five games for the Buffs who were once ranked No. 11 in the country and will be in danger of falling out of the top 25 if they lose again today.

Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb credited her team's 'collective will in that room to get wins' as she stood outside the visiting locker room in the Coors Events Center with a huge smile Friday. A few minutes later, Lappe sat at a table down the hall and questioned her team's leadership or lack thereof.

Lappe said her team lacked a sense of urgency when the game was on the line. She said it was nothing new. She said it has been a problem for these Buffs all season and she doesn't know why.

"I was screaming and yelling over from the sideline to get in a stance and we needed a stop," Lappe said. "We didn't have leadership on the floor. I think that's a big part about it. You need somebody to step up and somebody to recognize that, 'Hey, we need a stop. Here is how we're going to do it and we're going to be tough.' We didn't have that on the floor."

Lappe might have wanted to insert captain Ashley Wilson, but she has struggled with an injured shoulder for much of the season and she re-injured it earlier in the second half in a collision with a Cal player.

The challenge for CU only gets tougher today with one of the perennial powers in the women's game in town, riding a 13-game winning streak with possibly the best player in the nation.

Tempers flared at times in the Cal game Friday because both teams played aggressive defense. It will be more of the same today. CU (11-3, 1-2) and Stanford (14-1, 3-0) are the two best defensive teams in the Pac-12.

Stanford has held 14 of 15 opponents to under 40 percent shooting. South Dakota State was the only team to shoot better than 40 percent, but just barely. It made 40.4 percent of its attempts in a Nov. 28 loss to the Cardinal.

Senior post player Chiney Ogwumike scored 30 points for Stanford in a win at Utah on Friday, marking her seventh 30-point game of the season and fifth over the past six games. She is the fourth leading scorer in Stanford history with 2,173 career points.

Ogwumike is also the best rebounder in Pac-12 history with 1,293 rebounds in her career. She has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week five times this season.

Obviously she represents an huge challenge for CU forwards Jamee Swan and Rachel Hargis and others, but Stanford definitely isn't a one-woman show.

"A lot of teams get mad when they come off a loss and take it out on the next team," CU sophomore Arielle Roberson said. "So I think we have to do that against Stanford."

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/kyleringo.

CU women's hoops preview

SUNDAY: The No. 17 Colorado Buffaloes (11-3, 1-2) play host to No. 4 Stanford (14-1, 3-0) in an 3 p.m. game at the Coors Events Center.

BROADCAST: TV -- Pac-12 Network with Anne Marie Anderson on play-by-play and Mary Murphy providing color commentary. Radio -- KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary. There is no pregame show for this one.

STORYLINES: The Buffs lost at home for the first time this season Friday night allowing No. 19 Cal to come back from a nine-point deficit in the final 4 minutes. ... The Buffs have lost three of their past five, including their only two games against ranked opponents. ... Stanford brings a 13-game winning streak into the game. It's only loss this season came Nov. 11 at No. 1 UConn. ... These are the two best defensive teams in the conference. Both allow less than 60 points a game. ... Stanford is the second highest scoring team in the league averaging 79 points a game. ... Senior Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 27 points a game.

KEY STAT: Stanford has been sizzling from behind the 3-point arc over the past seven games. It has made 59 of 122 (.484) 3-point attempts in that span.

COACHES: Linda Lappe is 75-40 in her fourth season at CU and 125-76 as a head coach. Tara VanDerveer is 756-153 in her 28th season at Stanford and 908-204 in 35 seasons as a head coach.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Lexy Kresl, 5-11, Jr. (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.6 apg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Sr., (10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.9 apg); G Jasmine Sborov, 6-0, Jr. (7.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 apg); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (12.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg); F Jamee Swan, 6-2, So. (4.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg). Stanford -- G Lili Thompson, 5-7, Fr. (6.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg); G Sara James, 5-10, Sr. (3.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg); G Amber Orrange, 5-7, Jr. (10.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg); F Mikaela Ruef, 6-3, Sr. (7.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg); F Chiney Ogwumike, 6-4, Sr. (26.9 ppg, 11.5 rpg).

SERIES: Stanford leads 10-4, including the past five contests. CU hasn't beaten the Cardinal since March 23 2002 in the NCAA tournament.

UP NEXT: The Buffs play at Washington State at 8 p.m. Friday.