PHILADELPHIA – Four true freshmen will join fourth-year women's basketball head coach Tonya Cardoza's Temple Owls for the 2011-12 season. The incoming class is made up of four guards from varied and highly successful backgrounds, and will be looking to help the Owls to a ninth-straight NCAA Tournament as well as an Atlantic 10 title.

Rateska Brown (Alvin, S.C./Timberland) and Shaniqua Reese (Brooklyn, N.Y./Murry Bergtraum) are recent signees who now join Monaye Merritt (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends' Central) and Tyonna Williams (Fort Washington, Md./Riverdale Baptist) who signed with the Owls last fall.

"I love what we're getting from this group," said Cardoza. "It's a little bit of everything with speed, perimeter shooting and the ability to get to the basket. These guys are all really hard workers and their personalities are a great fit for the team. We need all of them to contribute and I'm really excited for them to join our program."

Brown, a 5-6 guard out of Timberland High School in St. Stephen, S.C., averaged more than 20 points per game throughout her high school career and finished with 2,038 points. As a senior, Brown averaged 26.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 5.4 steals. Her 25-2 team was Class 2A state champs in her senior year.

"Rateska is a great three-point shooter and was obviously a prolific scorer for her team," said Cardoza. "She'll add a lot of scoring from the point guard position for us."

Monaye Merritt, a 5-6 guard from nearby Friends' Central, was a second team all-state selection as a senior and was nominated this past year for McDonald's All-American recognition. "Monaye is a steady player who does a good job getting to the basket, and can knock down the mid-range jump shot," said Cardoza.

Reese led her Murry Bergtraum team to a 13th straight PSAL title in her senior year, and was named to the New York Post All-City second team. "Shaniqua is an athletic guard and she'll see a lot of time at the three spot," said Cardoza. "She's a slasher who can get to the basket and also a really good rebounder."

Williams played for nationally-ranked Riverdale Baptist, leading the team to a 30-6 record this past season and averaging 16 points per game along with five assists per game and four rebounds per game. She was named to The Washington Post's All-Met First Team, a prestigious honor in the D.C. metropolitan area.

"Tyonna can play all over the place," said Cardoza. "She is an energetic guard and brings a lot of passion to the court. She can shoot, get to the basket and is a really good defender."