The Los Angeles Sparks are in the midst of a grueling road trip that will carry them through the end of the month. They don't return home to Arena until July 2 against the Washington Mystics. But the Sparks have been playing better basketball as of late, most notably rookie wing Rickea Jackson.

Although the Sparks dropped the second game of this road trip to fall to 0-2 to start with an 81-76 loss to the Minnesota Lynx, Jackson turned in the best performance of her young career so far. Following the game, she attributed it to her improving aggressiveness on the glass as well as the team's ball movement.

“My teammates just kept getting me the ball, Aari [McDonald] had seven assist so she was a big part of it as well, but I feel like we were just moving the ball really really well today,” Jackson said. “Curt [Miller] has been on my like, ‘I want you to rebound more.' So I've been going to the boards hard. . .I just feel like we were moving the ball really well today.”

Rickea Jackson led the Sparks with 19 points, ten rebounds and three assists, all of which were career-highs. It was the first double-double of her career. She scored the final four points of the game for the Sparks as they managed to pull within three, 79-76, with 10.1 sec left.

Moving forward, Jackson knows that it's her energy level rebounding that's going to ultimately raise the ceiling for this team.

“I feel like I just got on the boards. I'm tall, I'm athletic, so that's something I really need to push more to do for my team,” Jackson said. “I feel like that helps us get more possessions. I feel like that helps put us at the line. It's an intimidating factor so I feel like I just need to keep crashing the boards hard and that's going to take this team to the next level.”

Sparks may have turned a corner with recent play

Los Angeles Sparks forward Cameron Brink (22) yells in excitement Tuesday, May 28, 2024, during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Indiana Fever, 88-82.
Grace Hollars/IndyStar/USA TODAY Network

The 2024 season was always going to be a work in progress for the Sparks. Losing franchise cornerstone Nneka Ogwumike to free agency while acquiring two lottery picks in the draft signaled a rebuild on the way.

But after getting off to a slow start to the season, the Sparks have been showing signs of improvement. They had won two of their last three games before falling to the Lynx. And it's been the Sparks young rookies who have made strides during that stretch.

During the Sparks win against the Dallas Wings last week, Cameron Brink tallied a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds. In the Sparks win against the Las Vegas Aces last weekend, it was Rickea Jackson with 16 points and five rebounds.

Given the landscape of the WNBA this season, there's a high chance that the Sparks miss out on the playoffs yet again. But this season should be all about development. As long as Jackson and Brink continue to show improvement and growth, then this season will be a win.