The Washington Mystics yesterday lost three players--guard Rita Williams, forward Monica Maxwell and center Nyree Roberts--to Indiana during the WNBA expansion draft.

Indiana acquired Maxwell, a native of Hammond, Ind., and Washington's fourth-round pick (50th overall) in the 2000 WNBA draft in exchange for selecting Roberts in the third round. Williams was selected in the fifth round.

"Losing three players is tough," Mystics Coach Nancy Darsch said. "But we felt we did the best we could do in order to try to keep some of our core players."

Indiana made Los Angeles Sparks guard Gordana Grubin the top overall choice in the draft. Seattle picked guard Edna Campbell from Phoenix second overall. With the third pick, Miami chose guard Kate Starbird from Sacramento. Portland chose forward Alisa Burras from Cleveland as the fourth pick.

Miami subsequently traded Starbird and its first pick in the 2000 WNBA draft to the Utah Starzz for center Elena Baranova and Utah's second round pick in the draft.

A total of 24 players was selected in six rounds. Each of the 12 existing teams initially protected five players. After the third round, each team protected three additional players.

Last season, Williams, Roberts and Maxwell were reserve players for the Mystics.

Williams, who was the Mystics' second-round pick in the 1998 draft, averaged 3.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and one assist in 31 games. Maxwell averaged 1.7 points and 1.1 rebounds in 20 games. Roberts joined the team July 11 in a trade from Houston and averaged 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds in eight games.