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Off the basketball court, Ciara Rosten admits she has a real weakness for chicken wing dip. On the court, her shortcomings are much more difficult to identify.

For someone who will be playing Division I basketball next season it’s easy to assume she does a lot of things right. The 6-foot-2 center for Maryvale signed a national letter of intent last month for the University of Massachusetts. The Minutewomen, members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, finished 3-26 last year, 1-13 in the league.

UMass discovered Rosten playing for her AAU team at the Boo Williams Basketball Tournament last spring in Hampton, Va. She played with the New Jersey Demons the first period and NYC Exodus the next. Last spring she and her mom would drive to New Jersey on weekends to play.

One of Rosten’s New Jersey teammates had a short but memorable career at Nichols. Taylor Rooks achieved first team All-Western New York honors as a freshman before moving with her family to New Jersey. Rooks recently signed with Stanford.

Rosten made her official visit to UMass last August and immediately knew she was in the right place. She had offers from Florida A&M and Delaware, but after two days on campus she was hooked.

“I played pick-up with the team, I just felt like I fit in there,” she said. “My mom loved it there. The coaches were real friendly and I figured I could adapt to the program real well.”

Rosten isn’t likely to find many players on her level this regular season. Maryvale plays in ECIC III and its nonleaguers against St. Mary’s, Starpoint, North Tonawanda and Christian Central will do little to showcase her. The Flyers are coming off an 11-10 season that ended with a loss to East Aurora in the sectional semifinals.

Rosten’s size isn’t the only thing that makes her difficult to defend. She can score facing up, on the drive, with a drop step, on putbacks and she dominates the boards. She’s a hard worker, physical and unselfish despite her overwhelming talent.

“As much as I’ve got to get my points, I want to have everyone involved,” she said. “I love the sport so I want people playing with me to love it too.”

Teams are likely to press Maryvale, but senior guards Brittany Starzynski and Sam Farino are ready to get Rosten the ball.

Rosten averaged 19.9 points and 18 rebounds last year. She has surpassed 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. She played her freshman and sophomore seasons at St. Mary’s before transferring to Maryvale. She has the Flyers off to a 2-1 start with wins over St. Mary’s and Newfane.

“She’s put in so much work on her own to get to where she’s at,” said Maryvale coach Tim Klimtzak. “I don’t think she knows her own strength yet, I think she’s coming into it. She’s a very strong individual, becoming more of a well-rounded player and person.”

That should give opponents plenty to chew on.

email: mmonnin@buffnews.com