Written by: Chris Pike
Perth Lynx coach Ryan Petrik was full of praise for his centre and vice-captain Lauren Scherf after Saturday night’s brilliant performance against the Sydney Flames as she prepares for another battle with Lauren Jackson and the Southside Flyers.
The Lynx got off to a horror start on Saturday night at Bendat Basketball Centre against the Flames, managing just seven points all of the first quarter to be down 10 at quarter-time on the back of 2/17 shooting and seven turnovers.
Amazing second quarter performance
By quarter-time Scherf had five points and four rebounds to her name, but even she had shot just 2/7 to start the game including 1/4 from beyond the arc and there weren’t to many signs of what was about to come.
However, what did eventuate in the second quarter is likely the best individual performance by any player in a quarter this WNBL season as Scherf lit it up in all areas like perhaps only she can.
The Flames simply were helpless against what Scherf did in the second quarter and she played all 10 minutes to deliver 22 points and four rebounds while shooting 8/9 from the floor and 3/4 from three-point land.
It was the most spectacular performance you are likely to see for a 10-minute stretch from a centre in the WNBL.
On the back of that, the Lynx outscored the Flames 32 points to 13 in the quarter, and by the end of the game were victorious 75-64 with Scherf finishing with 33 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.
It was a spectacular all-round performance from Scherf to continue her terrific season as Lynx vice-captain where she’s averaging 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists a game on a Perth team with a 5-5 record.
Best big in the WNBL
Coach Petrik recruited Scherf for a specific reason before the start of last season seeing her playing just the role that she is now in his system. He was beaming about her performance after Saturday night’s home win.
“I’ve been saying it for a long time, she’s the modern day big and we play a modern day offence with that five out system,” Petrik said.
“She can shoot it as well and again last week she was the Nikola Jokic of the WNBL. I clearly speak with a bias that she’s the best big in the country right now.
“She’s as good as anyone going around and we do speak with a bias, but we were desperate to get her two years ago for a very specific reason. It was for this style of play and it’s the first time in her life she hasn’t been anchored four feet from the rim.
“She can just do everything. If you put a small on her, she can post them up. If you put a big on her, she will drag them out. She can really pass for someone that size, she’s the modern day unicorn almost.”
If you look at potential Opals selection, a possible WNBA future and Scherf wouldn’t be out of place stepping up with whatever opportunities that come her way with her all-round abilities.
“Especially from a bigs point of view, I mean she’s 6’5. There’s other guards who can do some of those things, but not at that body shape,” Petrik added.
“If you look at the WNBA, that’s the modern day big. She stretches the floor and you surround her with shooters, you have to come out to the shooters and then her passing ability is insane.”
Challenge against LJ and the Flyers
The Lynx now play host to the Southside Flyers at Bendat Basketball Centre on Friday night, which for Scherf means another battle with the legend herself, Lauren Jackson.
Petrik has no doubt she will be primed for that battle, but he’s more concerned with ensuring he puts her in a position to thrive. Not only that but to help her teammates remain lethal if the opposition tries to shut her down.
“It’s something that we used with Jervis in the state league. There’s one of two ways you can do it,” Petrik said.
“You can sag back on her but she can shoot so you can’t really do that. Or if you get up and after her, well she’s also then dragged their big out hence why we get all those random back cuts, curls and layups we missed in the fourth quarter.
“Well that’s because Scherf has dragged their centre out so it’s just a guard getting on the rim. If we made more of our layups we would have scored 90.”