Fontbonne basketball coach Steve Oliver’s decision to start Noelle Polanco on the varsity team has paid immediate dividends. The freshman guard is already one of the team’s top scorers. Polanco’s talents were particularly on display when she scored a career-best 31 points in a recent game against the Cathedral Bears, scoring on pull-up jumpers and strong drives to the basket.
Looking for its first win of the season, Fontbonne (0-4) hosted Cathedral for the first game after the Christmas holiday break. Right from the start, the Bonnies put up a strong defense and led the Bears 10-0 in the first quarter. The Bonnies then exploded in the second quarter as Polanco began her 31-point run, scoring 14 points in the first half for Fontbonne’s 25-5 halftime lead.
On offense, guards Aaniya Telford (10 assists) and Mikayla McKaren contributed to Polanco’s performance with passing assists, while forwards Paige O’Neill (12 rebounds) and Kristen Russo gave the freshman additional scoring opportunities with their offensive rebounding. In the second half, Polanco ruled the court, scoring 13 of her team’s 20 points in the third quarter to give Fontbonne a 45-12 lead.
After the 59-19 win, Polanco was surprised to find out that she scored 31 points.
“I knew I scored a lot, something like 20 points,” she said. “I was open all game and my teammates just kept feeding me assists so I could score all those points.”