FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com FEBRUARY 4, 2016 • THE COURIER SUN 51 sports Runners prepare to race ‘For the Love of Queens’ at Flushing Meadows Photo courtesy of Queens Distance Runners Runners get ready to run “For the Love of Queens” 5K on Saturday, Feb. 13, hosted by the Queens Distance Runners. Handford helps St. John’s women Storm toward tourney BY LENN ROBBINS Aliyyah Handford never has to look far to remember who she’s playing for. All the St. John’s guard needs to do is look down at her basketball shoes, where her late cousin’s No. 3 is written, or open her wallet, where a lock of his hair is carefully kept. Handford is a 5-9 senior guard on the St. John’s women’s basketball team and a big reason why the Red Storm (16-6 as of this writing) is closing in on another 20-win season and a possible NCAA Tournament bid. Handford is passing on legacy she received from her late cousin Maurice, who passed away about a year ago after medical complications from a shooting that left in him paralyzed from the waist down. Maurice was Aliyyah’s basketball mentor, teaching her the game and the importance of playing team basketball. Now in her senior season, Handford is embracing her role as a leader. In the Red Storm’s most recent game, a 77-71 loss at nationally ranked DePaul, Handford dished out a careerhigh seven assists to go along with 12 points and six rebounds. “As a senior I want to be more of a leader,” Handford said. “We have a young team, so I’m helping them learn the college system. We’re getting better. We pick each other up. We’re playing more like a team. We haven’t played our best yet, which is good.” Handford grew up in Newark and played at power Malcolm Shabazz High School. She helped Shabazz win four straight state titles by scoring 1,650 points and grabbing more than 600 rebounds. Shabazz went 125-7 in her four years. She chose St. John’s, which has been a perennial Big East power. It’s close enough for family and friends to come see her play, and Handford has been a standout player ROBBINS’ NEST by Lenn Robbins since her freshman year, when she averaged almost 10 points. The Big East Preseason Player of the Year has moved into second place on the school’s all-time scoring list. Handford (1,875 points) has a chance to become the fi rst player in St. John’s history to score 2,000 points. But it’s never been about the points. Not a day goes go by when Handford doesn’t think of Maurice. She always wanted to wear his No. 3, but the number wasn’t available when she was playing in the boys and girls leagues in Newark. She wears it now, a reminder of Maurice, along with his number on her sneakers and the lock of hair in her wallet. “He taught me more than how to play the game,” Handford said. “I think about him a lot. I play every game for him and want to make my senior year something special for him.” NOTE: If you have a story idea concerning a player, coach or team in Brooklyn or Queens, please email me at email@example.com. BY ANTHONY GIUDICE firstname.lastname@example.org @A_GiudiceReport Show your love for the “World’s Borough” at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park this February during the “For the Love of Queens” 5K. The Queens Distance Runners (QDR) set up the run, scheduled to take place the day before Valentine’s Day, Saturday, Feb. 13, to show their love and support of Queens and its runners. Runners participating in the “For the Love of Queens” race will travel along the USA Track & Field (USATF) measured and certifi ed 5K distance course that starts at the bottom of the boardwalk from the 7 train at Mets- Willets Point and the Long Island Rail Road station, according to QDR. Once the starting horn goes off, runners will begin their trip around Flushing Meadows Corona Park, taking in all the iconic sights, including the Queens Unisphere and the New York State Pavilion, which will make for great photo opportunities. Registration price for the race is $25 until race day. Registering on race day will cost $30. Packet pickup and race-day registration opens at 8 a.m. on Feb. 13, with the start time at 9 a.m. The fi rst 200 runners to register for the race will receive a special gift. “Just in case you’re feeling cold when you lace up at Flushing Meadows, you’ll get a chance to warm up with a QDR beanie that comes with your registration if you are one of the fi rst 200 to sign up,” QDR announced on their website. Kids can get involved in showing their love for the borough in the QDR’s Kids Mile. This mile is handtimed, and kids will run half a mile, then turn back and run the other way. The Kids Mile begins at 8:15 a.m., so plan to arrive before 8 a.m. Registration for the Kids Mile is $5.
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