Did she legally change her name? If so, there should be paperwork somewhere.
It wouldn't be valid in Poland regardless - she'd have to have changed it with the USC through the proper channels.
The consulate suggested that my mom confirm her citizenship, obtain a passport, and legally change her name in the Polish system but really delay everything and is something I'm hoping to avoid.
That's the only way forward - if she's not keen, then no citizenship for you.
At the end of the day, in Polish eyes, the documents must add up. Quite sensible, I'd say - especially where non-EU citizens are concerned.