Perth Lynx's Lauren Scherf breaking the mould and pushing big boundaries

Lauren Scherf is soaring and, as the tallest player in the WNBL, that's at a lofty height.

In her second season at Perth Lynx, the 198cm centre has broken free of the shackles inside the paint and challenged the stereotypes of bigs, particularly in the women's game.

Scherf, 26, is first in the league for blocks per game (1.7), third for rebounds (10.2) and fifth for assists (5.1) while averaging 14 points per game.

Forming a strong, collaborative relationship with Perth coach Ryan Petrik has paid dividends for player and team with the Lynx winning seven of their past eight games and making a late season push for a finals berth.

"I probably didn't realise how much impact Perth would have on me," Scherf reflects.

"Ryan didn't put any restraints on me. It's not about having to fit this mould; he fits the mould around the players he has and works with you.

"Ryan says to me 'I'm going to let you do what you need to do and go outside the box, if I don't think it's working, I'll rein you back in but ultimately, I want you to push the boundaries'.

"It's refreshing, I'm not a traditional big, you know back-to the basket. I don't always want to be in the key, I want to be on the outside, I can shoot the three and I've never really had coaches that implemented my passing IQ ability.

"I'll never forget Ryan saying to me that he knew what I could bring to this team but didn't realise how efficient I was or how much he could get out of me.

"He was so impressed, and I probably didn't realise how far I could go either."

Petrik, who's been on the Lynx coaching staff for eight years including the last three as head coach, describes Scherf as a joy to coach.

"I thought she was underutilised everywhere else and that's not being disrespectful to other clubs, they were using her where best gave them a chance to win a championship," he says.

"We just saw her constantly post it up, doing all the traditional big stuff that was great back in the 1980s but the modern day 5'8 offence - we couldn't think of a big in the country that would be better in it than Lauren Scherf.

"We saw a whole bunch of things we thought she could do but she didn't have an offence built around her that let her do so we were always thinking if we could put her inside what we do, she could explode and that's kind of what's happened

"She's the quarterback of everything we do defensively. I didn't see that a lot coaching against her because she was a cog in the machine before, whereas now she is the machine and for her to fill that role has been so good to watch."

Last round, Scherf celebrated her 200th game in style with an upset victory over the Melbourne Boomers, the side which defeated the Lynx 2-1 in last season's Grand Final series.

A Diamond Valley then Melbourne Tigers junior, Scherf attended the Centre of Excellence in the nation's capital before beginning her WNBL career with Dandenong Rangers in 2013.

During her stint at the Rangers she'd play alongside WNBA legends Cappie Pondexter and Aussie great Penny Taylor and in a Grand Final series loss to Sydney in 2016-17.

In 2017, she was recruited to Canberra by Paul Goriss. The Caps would lose 14 straight games in her first season then she'd be part of a championship in her second alongside league greats Kelsey Griffin, Kelly Wilson, Opals point guard Leilani Mitchell and stud import Kia Nurse.

Scherf then moved up to Sydney for the next two seasons for increased court time and greater opportunity before heading West in 2021-22.

Her meteoric rise reached new heights last year when she won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal with the Australian 3x3 team.

Recently named in an extended Opals squad ahead of this year's FIBA Asia Cup and building up to next year's Paris Olympics, Scherf's basketball dream is as vivid as ever.

"The goal is obviously to play at an Olympics for the Opals and that's been the goal since I was young," she explains.

"I remember the Opals coming to Diamond Valley and playing against the men's team - Kristi Harrower, Jenna O'Hea, Elyse Penaluna. I was watching them and that's when I knew where I wanted to be.

"I was in awe of Elyse and have based my game off how she played in the post, she played outside as well and on the perimeter. She cemented for me, as a young big, the kind of player I aspired to."