“We were hanging on for dear life,” said rookie center Kelsey Bone after a crucial 74-66 New York Liberty victory over the Connecticut Sun. While the team is still in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, the win kept the Liberty within striking distance of the Washington Mystics and Indiana Fever.

“Our veterans have done a really good job of stressing how important these next few games are if we want to keep our season alive,” Bone said.

Knowing the postseason is still possible, the Liberty, who have struggled this season, remain optimistic and focused. Bone said it’s all about believing they’re strong enough, and if they are united, they can achieve the results they desire.

Bone, 21, who gave up her final year of collegiate playing eligibility at Texas A&M because coach Bill Laimbeer indicated his interest in drafting her, said that her rookie season has been an enlightening experience. The season has had its ups and downs, but she’s appreciated the packed schedule, which offers chances to redeem oneself after a weak game.

“You can’t get caught up in what happened in one game,” she said. “Staying focused night in and night out and moving from game to game has been an adjustment.”

Bone and fellow rookies Kamiko Williams and Toni Young have been appreciative of the veteran wisdom shared by their teammates. In just the short time forward DeLisha Milton-Jones has been with the team, Bone has already learned some valuable lessons.

“When you bring in someone with a pedigree like hers … I’m like a sponge. She’s always got pointers, and she’s played with the best in the league, so for me, it’s a win-win. I get to get some of her tidbits, her information and her knowledge,” said Bone, who also credited center Kara Braxton with helping her learn the physical demands on a post player.

“We’re pushing for a playoff spot,” Bone said. “We know that chance is still very much alive, so that’s what our focus is.”

The Liberty take on the Indiana Fever at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Friday.