CHICAGO — Led by Michelle Sicner's career-high 52 assists, Creighton defeated DePaul 25-18, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22 Saturday.
The Bluejays (15-5, 6-2) hit .372 and pounded 67 kills. Leah McNary had 16 kills on .448 hitting, and Kelli Browning added 14 kills, six blocks and two service aces while hitting .409.
“We had a goal to get our offense going, and I was really pleased with our offense,” said Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth, whose team was swept by Marquette on Friday. “We hit at a high clip today, but have got to clean up some parts of our game consistency-wise. We've got great pieces of the puzzle.”
Creighton's offense clicked on all cylinders in the first set. McNary, Browning and Lauren Smith combined for 13 kills on 16 swings as CU hit .571. Sicner, a junior from Millard North, dished out 15 assists.
Creighton never led in the second set. The Jays fell behind 5-0, only to rally and knot the score at 14-all. But Creighton would never take the lead, and the Blue Demons (15-6, 1-6) closed out the set on a Natalie Rizzo ace.
Creighton finished the third set on a 4-1 run after trailing 22-21. In the fourth set, Creighton took the lead for good at 19-18 on a block by Browning and Melanie Jereb, and won five key points when DePaul could have tied it down the stretch as the teams traded 10 straight sideouts. McNary had five kills in the final set while Browning added four kills and four blocks.
Creighton's .372 hitting is tied for the third-best performance in a four-set match in program history, and is the best such mark since 2001.
Jess Bird contributed 13 kills and 13 digs for Creighton, while Smith had 11 kills on .500 hitting. Kate Elman led the Bluejay defense with 16 digs.
Creighton returns home next weekend when it hosts St. John's in a match that has been moved to 5 p.m.
Creighton (15-5, 6-2)............................25 22 25 25
At DePaul (15-6, 1-6)...........................18 25 23 22
CU (kills-aces-blocks): Jansen 0-0-0, Jereb 8-2-4, Browning 14-2-6, Sicner 5-0-5, Bird 13-1-0, Smith 11-0-3, Elman 0-0-0, McNary 16-0-0, Stivers 0-0-0. Total 67-5-9.
DU: Rizzo 6-1-8, Chanos 0-0-0, Fleener 20-0-2, Rooks 0-0-0, Zapryanova 17-1-1, Smith 0-0-3, Graham 0-1-0, Reyes 0-0-0, Huebener 10-0-2, Leath 6-0-3. Total 59-3-11.5.
Set assists: CU 61 (Sicner 52, Elman 4, Jansen 2, Jereb 1, Smith 1, McNary 1), DU 57 (Smith 55, Rooks, Reyes).