Big Moments Under the Bright Lights
A trio of Warrior programs had their inaugural NCAA Division I victories captured on regional and national platforms. The field hockey, women’s basketball and men’s basketball teams all celebrated first wins in a major way with upsets on streaming and television options.
While on the road in the Pine Tree state against Maine Sept. 28, the Warriors trailed after one quarter of play, but had something in store for the final 45 minutes. In a game streamed on ESPN+, the Warriors got tallies from Leah Glidden and Alex Mondini to storm past the Black Bears and clinch Merrimack’s first Division I triumph.
Just over a month later, it was the women’s basketball team’s time to shine. In the program’s first ever Division I game against Atlantic 10 foe UMass, the Warriors weren’t interested in a rude awakening to the top level of college hoops. In a game broadcast live regionally on NESN, Merrimack led for 38 of the game’s 40 minutes and got 31 points and 13 rebounds from Denia Davis-Stewart to start what turned into a dominant season for the senior.
Denia Davis-Stewart jumped onto the scene of Division I basketball when she dropped 31 points Nov. 5 at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. She later went on to be named the NEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
The college hoops world was shaken up again three nights later, this time by the Warrior men. In a game broadcast on Big 10 Network, Merrimack went to Big 10 foe Northwestern in Chicago and pulled off an all-time shocker. An NCAA tournament team just a few seasons prior, the Wildcats hung tough with the visitors from North Andover until the second half, when the Warriors pulled away for the 71-61 victory.
Juvaris Hayes celebrates the win at Northwestern after his 19 points and nine rebounds helped propel the Warriors to the 10-point triumph.
The exposure reached an apex that evening when the upset was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter.