The Hamilton men's and women's basketball teams donated $5,200 in 2014 to Hoops 4 Hope, a non-profit charity that uses basketball to benefit children in Zimbabwe. The teams raised the money through a free throw shoot-a-thon held in May. Members of the teams shot 100 free throws after finding sponsors who pledged a dollar for every made free throw. The money went toward repairing the country's pot hole-ridden courts where volunteers teach. Hoops 4 Hope is a year-round program that meets five days a week and has helped more than 10,000 children.
The NESCAC is one of the top athletic conferences in NCAA Division III, and women's basketball is no exception. Four teams played in the 2014 NCAA Championship and one of those programs advanced to the national semifinals. NESCAC women's basketball teams own one NCAA title and one runner-up trophy. At least one team from the conference has made it to the NCAA semifinals in each of the last six years. The conference tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA championship.
An early-season tournament at Buffalo State College highlights the 2014-15 schedule. The home opener is Nov. 19 against SUNY Brockport. NESCAC home games are as follows: Colby College (Jan. 16), Bowdoin College (Jan. 17), Middlebury College (Feb. 1), Tufts University (Feb. 6) and Bates College (Feb. 7). Hamilton plays inside 2,000-seat Margaret Bundy Scott Field House.
Madie Harlem '13 finished a fantastic career with a NESCAC all-conference team honor in 2013. When Harlem graduated, she was seventh in program history with 1,131 career points, third all-time in steals, fourth in assists and fifth in 3-pointers made. She was the 2009-10 Liberty League Rookie of the Year and a two-time all-league selection.
From 1995 to 2011, Hamilton was a member of the Liberty League. The Continentals finished 2009-10 with a winning record for the seventh time in eight seasons and played in the 2010 league championship semifinals. Hamilton won seven of its last 10 regular season games and ended up with an overall record of 15-10. The Continentals placed fourth in the league standings with an 8-6 record. Harlem was named the East Region's rookie of the year by D3hoops.com. She made the all-league second team and ranked in the top 15 in the league in seven major categories. In an early-season win against Lehman College, she tied a team record with seven baskets from beyond the arc.
Hamilton won 20 games, captured its first league tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA championship in 2006-07. The Continentals posted an overall record of 15-10 in 2007-08 and set a program record with 10 league wins en route to third place in the league standings. Hamilton played a brutal schedule with 15 games away from home and 10 contests against seven teams that went on to play in the NCAA tournament. The Continentals' regular season strength of schedule was ranked 21st in all of Division III. Hamilton set a team record for best free throw percentage at 71.7 percent.
Women's basketball became a varsity sport at Hamilton in 1978. The win at Vassar College on Feb. 19, 2010, was the 400th in program history. Some talented players have been a part of some great teams during the past 30-plus seasons. Julie Diehl '93 and Melissa Hart '89 were All-America selections in 1993 and 1989, respectively. Diehl played on three teams that won 21 or more games from 1990 to 1993. The 22 victories the Continentals posted in 1990-91 are still a program record. Don Crist's teams won almost 57 percent of their games from 1985 to 1998. Crist finished his head coaching career with 176 victories.
Olivia Pimm '14, Adrianna Pulford '15 and Ward made the 2013-14 NESCAC Winter All-Academic Team. Each honoree is a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.35. The student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing to be considered for honors.