WNBL & NBL National Cup finals 2024: Highlights, recaps, reaction & gallery

The WNBL and NBL finals lit up Manchester's National Basketball Performance Centre, with two thrilling Finals for 2023/24.

Endeavour Ipswich Basketball beat Thames Valley Cavaliers to claim the WNBL National Cup Final 96-90 before Milton Keynes Breakers beat Reading Rockets 95-85 to seal the NBL National Cup.

A recap of both games is below, including reactions and a gallery of images at the bottom of the page.

WNBL National Cup Final

Thames Valley Cavaliers 90-96 Endeavour Ipswich Basketball Club

Ipswich claimed their first WNBL National Cup since 2017/18 as they beat holders Thames Valley Cavaliers 96-90.

In a back-and-forth affair between two evenly-matched teams, both sides battled foul trouble to key rotation players. Ipswich were able to dig deep to secure the win, providing a fitting end to this year's competition.

The MVP award went to Harriet Welham after she led all scorers with 34, dropping a number of important buckets to go with five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

That was certainly true in the fourth quarter as she hit shot after shot to snuff out any potential TVC comeback, including a deep three-pointer with just under six minutes remaining that sent the travelling Ipswich fans into party mode.

Welham was supported by Yazmin Edwards and Christabel Osarobo (both 17pts, 11reb) as Olivia Forster also dropped 17 points. 

Thames Valley certainly gave the Cup defence their all, with Kat Goldsby (24pts, 10reb, 6ast, 5stl) stuffing the stat sheet in defeat.

Last year's Cup Final MVP Helene Trailin had nine points and 12 boards, Robyn Ainge closed with 16 points and six assists.

"We talked about rebounding and defending the paint," suggested Ipswich head coach Nick Drane when questioned about his half time approach.

"We talked about the fact that they're bigger and stronger than us and that we had to compete and if we could compete and stay out of foul trouble that we would be able to bring it home late in the game.

"[Losing last week's D1W game to TVC] did us a favour in the sense that we know that they can beat us. We're having a pretty good season in the league and I think if you start to [believe] all the noise I don't think it does you any favours as a team.

"We know how good Thames Valley are, so when they beat us last week it proved that we needed to be at our best to beat them here."


NBL National Cup Final

Milton Keynes Breakers 95-85 Reading Rockets

Milton Keynes Breakers became the first team from outside NBL Division One to win the NBL National Cup since 1973 as they beat Reading Rockets 95-85.

In a closely-contested final, MK repeatedly attacked the basket and their 35 made free throws had a big influence across a tight game.

Reading led for portions of the first half as both teams traded blows, but a 14-4 run heading into half-time plus a commanding third quarter would leave the Rockets with too much work to do.

The MVP decision was an easy one as Breakers' captain Jordan Spencer went off, racking up 34 points to go with 11 assists and eight boards. His 48 efficiency was an incredible effort across a performance rightly etched into the NBL National Cup's history books.

Former D3 Playoff Final MVP Blayne Freckleton had 19 points, with team-mate Dante Langley (15pts) going a perfect 3/3 from long range.

The Rockets were denied a fourth NBL National Cup success but did pull as close as four points in a pulsating final quarter, with guard Mitch Clarke (20pts, 5reb, 5ast) scoring 15 of his points to go with a pair of assists in that final frame.

Reading's Zack Powell (20pts, 8reb, 8ast) wasn't far off a triple-double, Elijah Maynard and Christian Alexander both had 12 points.

"We love the moment. We're in Division Two but we feel like a Division One team and we've got players that can make big plays," said Spencer.

"Our fans have been amazing from start to finish and it gave us that extra energy and a little bit of pressure too, so it worked out well for us.

"We've been prepping all week. Billy [Beddow] and our coaches have done a great job scouting wise, match-up wise and today, I knew I had to come out a little more aggressive than usual and make some plays for the team.

"It's huge for British basketball. It was a great showcase. For anyone that watched it would have loved it and for us as a new club, we're trying to start something big here and [the Cup win] is a great message for that."



For a selection of images from the day's games, check out the gallery below