Ireland's senior women’s basketball team will attempt to channel the spirit of Vera Pauw's footballers when they take on the Netherlands in Sunday's FIBA Women’s EuroBasket Qualifier at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin (tip-off 5.15pm).

Head coach James Weldon has his team primed for a massive clash in front of a sell-out crowd.

Ireland were beaten 82-60 by the Dutch in Amsterdam a year ago and sit third in the three-team Group I, still chasing a first victory. The Czech Republic are top.

The group winners and four best runners-up will make it to the FIBA Women's EuroBasket Championship in Israel and Slovenia next June so Ireland need a result to give themselves a shot.

They have been boosted by the inclusion of two key performers for this test.

American-born Bridget Herlihy, who plays professionally with Mark Basket Marbo Kinna in Sweden, is in line to make her FIBA Women's EuroBasket debut, following an impressive bow at international level in the August friendlies against Estonia and Portugal.

And 32-year-old Orla O'Reilly returns after a 13-year absence. She's been playing in Australia but has been coaxed back by Weldon and brings a massive injection of experience and quality.

The vibes are good in the Irish camp ahead of a mouthwatering battle.

"I'm really excited," said Boston native Herlihy, who qualifies to play for Ireland through her grandparents. "It's been something I've been looking forward to for a while. I'm really glad I got to come out in the summer and meet the team, get used to the style of play. I think the team really gelled together well.

"We just have to try and match their physicality. They are a big team so we have to use our size as well and not let them dictate the pace, play our game of basketball regardless of what they're doing."

Reflecting on the prospect of playing in front of a big home crowd, she added: "I keep saying that pressure makes diamonds. There is definitely pressure on us but I think that can be turned into a positive, make us work harder, make us want it more and hopefully we get the result."

Captain Edel Thornton echoed those sentiments, while also citing the influence of Pauw's Ireland side, who thrilled the nation by qualifying for the World Cup in October.

"The women's soccer team, watching them was absolutely amazing," she said.

"It's about building on to that [momentum for] women in sport, for us as a senior basketball team to have a full sellout is amazing.

"We had a good summer so hopefully we can continue that sort of game chemistry. I think we have a really good mix of some experience and some younger girls coming together.

"It's really exciting for us to get a sellout crowd here for a Euro qualifier."

Coach Weldon feels the same. "We're trying to just build on the momentum we had over the summer," he added.

"Probably last year, through my own fault, I underestimated the value of playing at home in front of such a crowd. It's a great opportunity to inspire some young players around the country.

"There's a great buzz around the country for women's sport, with the women's soccer team qualifying for the World Cup and all that. It's just fantastic."