CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Savannah Shamblin usually doesn't say much before a game.
So when the junior point guard approached Nitro coach Will Samuel for a few words after warm-ups Thursday night, it just marked another first for this bunch of hungry Wildcats.
Shamblin promptly knocked down her first two shots - both 3-pointers - in racking up 28 points as Nitro stayed unbeaten with a 64-37 victory over host Capital. A crowd of about 100 attended the Class AAA Mountain State Athletic Conference matchup.
Shamblin converted 11 of 23 shots, including 4 of 8 from long distance, and added nine assists and six rebounds for the Wildcats (8-0), who were eighth in this week's Associated Press poll and are ranked for the first time in several years.
"I have no clue,'' said Shamblin of why she felt so confident Thursday. "In warm-ups I was feeling good about my 3. They were falling.''
"It's the first time she's ever done this,'' added Samuel. "She came over to me right after warm-ups and was like, 'Coach, I feel good today.' She nails a couple of 3s off the bat and she's coming down the court smiling. I don't know.''
Shamblin's confidence is one of the hallmarks of this year's squad and permeates throughout the lineup. Nitro returned four starters from last year's 10-12 team that posted double-figure wins for the first time since 2008-09.
That new-found swagger was on display when Capital battled back Thursday and closed within four points (20-16) in the second quarter and trailed by seven (31-24) at halftime.
Freshman guard Alex Gray converted a driving layup to start the third quarter and the Cougars were only down by five points (36-31). Nitro, though, outscored the Cougars 19-4 in the period, including a 13-0 run after Gray's basket as three different players tallied for the Wildcats, in pulling away for a 44-26 advantage with 4:13 to go in the frame.