ADA — The Ohio Northern women's basketball team entered the 2019-20 season with plenty of uncertainty. And the Polar Bears ended the year with plenty with which to be proud. 

"We had an outstanding year," ONU head coach Michele Durand said. "We were really unsure going in, what it was going to be like. We had a lot of unknowns and a lot of unproven players. And with that newness, we were still able to win 20 games."

Northern went 20-7 overall, reaching the 20-win plateau for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. ONU also owned a 13-5 mark in Ohio Athletic Conference play, which was good enough to finish third in the league. 

The Polar Bears' season came to a close at the OAC Tournament. After pushing past No. 6-seeded Mount Union in the quarterfinals, ONU fell to No. 2-seeded, and 25th-ranked, John Carroll in the semifinals. 

The Polar Bears enjoyed a fruitful regular season. Northern knocked off a pair of nationally-ranked foes, downing No. 17 Wisconsin-Oshkosh during non-conference play and defeating No. 20 John Carroll in conference season. 

"I'm like most coaches, I want to win, so from that standpoint, it's really nice for my last season coaching that we were successful," Durand said. "But honestly for me, the best of it was I had really great girls to work with. I really enjoyed this group. They were really fun to be around and just really great people to be around."

Four from that group played their final year in the orange and black — Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local), Abby Weeks (West Chester/Mount Notre Dame), Jaclyn Yankle (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney), Martrina Parks (Columbus/Thomas Worthington). A couple of them carved their way into the ONU record books. 

Mescher, who earned first-team All-OAC recognition, averaged a team-best 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this season. She closed the book on her Northern career with a 55.9 field-goal percentage, which is best all-time in school history. Mescher also corralled 521 career rebounds, and that's good enough for 14th all-time. 

Weeks, who was named Honorable Mention All-OAC, tallied 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. She finished her career connecting on 81.6 percent of her free-throw attempts, which is fifth all-time at ONU. 

Freshman Brynn Serbin (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) joined Mescher and Weeks on the All-OAC list. Serbin was awarded OAC Freshman of the Year after averaging 5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and team-highs in both assists (2.1) and steals (1.9) per game. 

Serbin is one of the building blocks moving forward for Mark Huelsman, who'll put on the head coach hat after being Durand's assistant the past seven years. Durand exits with a 333-183 overall record, a .645 winning percentage, which makes her the winningest basketball coach in ONU history.  

Durand will shift over to the administrative side of athletics, as she assumes the role of Assistant Athletics Director. She's excited for her new role at Northern and has zero doubts that her long-time assistant will have the Polar Bears not missing a beat moving forward. 

"There's no question Mark is going to be outstanding," Durand said. "I think he's going to take the program to new levels."