- National Teams
Watch the Women’s National Cup Final live as Thames Valley Cavaliers take on Ipswich from 1pm at the National Basketball Performance Centre.
Sunday’s action gets underway with holders Thames Valley Cavaliers looking to defend their crown.
TVC claimed their maiden title with a stunning 66-57 win over Reading Rockets a year ago and have marched back to the Final after impressive wins over Cobham Cobras and Brent Bulls, though the 78-74 semi-final victory against the Rockets in a rematch of the 2022/23 showpiece may have been the best performance of all.
Ipswich have aced a similarly tricky route to Manchester, knocking off University of East Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University in rounds two and three.
The Suffolk programme then edged out 2016/17 winners CoLA Southwark Pride 78-70 in the quarters and Sheffield Hatters II 81-77 in the semi-finals.
With both teams flying high in WNBL Division One, Ipswich (1st, 11-2) and Thames Valley (joint 2nd, 8-4) are both enjoying quality campaigns and enter the weekend with momentum on their side.
Those regular season records both come off the back of a dramatic league clash last Saturday, with the Cavs claiming a thrilling 88-87 road win on the buzzer in an early marker for this year’s final.
TVC were in control of that tie for the most part, leading by as many as 16 points early in the fourth quarter before an Ipswich fight back forced some late heroics.
No doubt both teams will have learned plenty from that encounter, both in success and defeat, and will try to take those lessons into this year’s final with silverware on the line.
Ipswich’s Harriet Welham will surely be one to watch, averaging 25.9PPG, 10.9RPG and 4.1APG in D1W. She was also selected as the MVP when Ipswich last won this title, rounding out a fairytale run in 2017/18 as the first-ever WNBL National Cup winners from outside the top flight.
Welham is joined by the likes of Liv Forster, Christabel Osarobo, Yazmin Edwards and Louisa Gibbins as some of the top young talent in the women’s game and any of them can be a match winner on a given day.
Thames Valley have a solid two-pronged attack led by reigning Cup Final MVP Helene Trailin alongside versatile guard Kat Goldsby.
Guard Robyn Ainge can get hot from range and swing any contest, whilst guard Chinwe Iwunze (team-high 19pts vs Ipswich last week) has been putting up solid numbers in recent weeks alongside centre Katie Richards.
“I’m excited to have earned the opportunity to defend the Cup title,” Thames Valley captain Kat Goldsby said.
“We know that we are a squad of talented ladies who are capable of achieving anything we put our mind to. We look forward to taking the stage in Manchester for the second year running, and to play an accomplished side in Ipswich. We are excited for the challenge!”
Ipswich captain Harriet Welham added: “The road to this final has been incredibly tough, but has really tested us and we are better for it. We know that Thames Valley are one of the best teams in the country and we are looking forward to a great game.