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Originally published Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 6:31 PM

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Kansas State hires Weber to replace Martin

Former Illinois coach Bruce Weber has landed on his feet. Kansas State hired him Saturday less than a month after Illinois fired him. He replaced Frank Martin...

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Former Illinois coach Bruce Weber has landed on his feet.

Kansas State hired him Saturday less than a month after Illinois fired him.

He replaced Frank Martin, who left the Wildcats for a job at South Carolina, and received a five-year contract worth $1.5 million in 2012-13 and increasing $100,000 in each year of the remainder.

Illinois still is on the hook for $3.9 million to Weber for the three years that were left of his contract.

"I could not be more excited about the opportunity that has presented itself here at K-State," Weber said in a statement the school released. "I'm happy to come to a place that has great tradition. When I've talked with people over the last couple of weeks, the main thing they emphasize to me — my mentors and peers — that I just don't take any job. So I'm very fortunate to take a job where there is already something built."

Weber was fired from Illinois on March 9 after nine seasons with a 210-101 record. He had led the Illini to NCAA tournament title game in 2005, but the team declined recently and missed out on three of the last five tournaments.

Oklahoma State wins WNIT

STILLWATER, Okla. — As Tiffany Bias climbed a ladder to cut down the net after Oklahoma State's WNIT championship, coach Jim Littell instructed her to take it all down except one last string.

At the end of a season marked by the deaths of head coach Kurt Budke and three others in a November plane crash, he wanted someone special to share in the triumph.

Budke's widow, Shelley, climbed up to do the last snip.

"I have never been more proud of a group of young ladies than I have this group," said Littell, Budke's former top assistant who took over after the crash.

"They set the goal in November to pay honor, and I promise you they paid honor today and in this tournament."

Toni Young scored 25 points, Tiffany Bias had 17 points and 11 assists and Oklahoma State beat James Madison 75-68 on Saturday to win the program's first WNIT championship.

Liz Donohoe had her fifth straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and the Cowgirls (22-12) made it through the tournament without trailing in the second half despite a late charge by the Dukes.

Oklahoma State lost Budke and assistant Miranda Serna in a Nov. 17 plane crash that also killed pilot Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula.

"I think they're always on our mind, always in the back of our head, just always being there," Bias said. "I think they were really watching us today. It showed out there on the floor. I think they were both on our minds the whole time."

Shelley Budke attended the game, along with her children and Budke's parents, and got hugs from the players and Littell afterward.

Tarik Hislop scored all 16 of her points in the second half to lead James Madison (29-8).

Note

• Baylor's Brittney Griner and Kim Mulkey have been chosen the Associated Press player and coach of the year, respectively. The Bears (38-0) play Stanford in Sunday's Final Four. Griner averaged 23.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.2 blocks this season.

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