The New York Liberty continue to struggle, but so do most of the teams in the Eastern Conference. Only the Chicago Sky—with Brooklyn native Murry Bergtraum graduate Epiphanny Prince averaging 14.9 points and three assists per game—and the Atlanta Dream are above .500 for the season.

In search osf a more cohesive team dynamic, coach Bill Laimbeer tried out two young guards, Samantha Prahalis and Chucky Jeffery, for short-term contracts. Then on Aug. 11, the Liberty made a bold move, signing veteran forward DeLisha Milton-Jones after she was waived by the San Antonio Silver Stars. She made her debut at last Friday’s home game versus the Washington Mystics, which the Liberty lost.

“We have to earn everything the hard way,” said Milton-Jones, a 15-year WNBA veteran who won two championships with the Los Angeles Sparks. “It’s kind of like how it is to live in New York. You have to roll up your sleeves every day, come to work and grind it out. That’s the same thing we have to do on the basketball court.”

Milton-Jones admitted that joining a team late in the season involves a lot of catchup. She scored four points and pulled down two rebounds in her debut.

“That’s where your savvy as a vet has to come into play,” said Milton-Jones, a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2000 and 2008). “You really lean on your teammates to talk you through a lot of things.”

Thankfully, there are some familiar faces on the Liberty roster. Both Katie Smith and Cappie Pondexter were Olympic teammates. Her presence enables Laimbeer to put big lineups in the front court and bring tenacity and in-your-face action. The hope is her championship experience will help the Liberty finish this season on an up note.

“I’m hoping I can bring a certain level of intellect as well as my skill set—being able to shoot from the outside or post up and guard threes or post players,” said Milton-Jones. “My hopes are for us to be in the playoffs. Then we can make the noise we know we can make.”