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Liberty are using time off to find themselves

TRACY JUSAY Special to the AmNews | 5/30/2012, 5:47 p.m.

The New York Liberty's dismal start to the season has left head coach John Whisenant in search of answers, and he's hoping the week off from playing is enough time to find them.

After playing four games in a span of seven days, it seemed like the Liberty were in a constant state of catch-up. Their next game isn't until June 2, and the short break couldn't have come at a better time. With a full seven days of not playing against any league opponents, Whisenant used the time as the training camp his team did not get to have because key players were not present for most of it due to commitments overseas. Hopefully, when they return to action, they'll look like an improved team.

"I think we'll have made really good strides," he said. "We didn't get dealt the best hand--going against Minnesota then going against Atlanta on the road--and Connecticut has already proven we weren't ready for them. We've just got to stay positive, continue to work and try to correct some of these things we haven't had any practice time to correct. We've really just been playing and resting."

Despite the slow start, Whisenant remained confident the break from playing games is what his players needed. It also has given him an opportunity to look more closely as to what combinations work well on the floor. He's optimistic the team will return to the caliber they were at last season, and what they have needed the most is time to find their identity.

The Liberty are bigger in size this season, having added post player DeMya Walker from free agency and drafting Kelley Cain. In the backcourt, free agent Kelly Miller was brought in as a backup to Leilani Mitchell in order to allow team superstar Cappie Pondexter to remain the Liberty's first scoring option. Still, the Liberty cannot depend on Pondexter to do everything, which further stresses that this team needs to build its chemistry in order to move in the right direction.

Through it all, Pondexter continues to stay positive. "There is hope. Whenever I am around, I always have hope we can do it. We are figuring it all out," she said.

The Liberty's next game is on the road against the Indiana Fever. They return to the Prudential Center on Sunday.